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June 2021 Moving Forward 

 

Moving Forward with the Southcoast Food Policy Council

by Christine Smith, Southcoast Food Policy Council Program Manager

The newest emergency food provider partnership on the Southcoast began in January 2021 with the Shah Foundation, Stock Pot Malden, and a committed group of community partners. In six months, we have delivered 285,952 catered breakfasts and lunches to children, 18 years and younger, in Wareham, New Bedford, and Fall River. Now, the Southcoast Food Policy Council is turning its attention to setting up the infrastructure of the Food Policy Council. As the Food Policy Council emerges, we will have a dedicated Food Policy Working group. To this end, I am going to share some recent advocacy accomplishments.

The 2020 Southcoast Food Assessment will go to print and be released sometime in July/August. Thank you to our many partners who worked with the research team, NorthBound Ventures Consulting.

Since last fall, a small group of people in the community have been putting together a “Guiding Principles” document outlining the Bylaws (if you will). Invitations to join the SFPC leadership team will go out in June/July.

A Legislative tracking sheet for National Legislation and State Legislation developed for the future SFPC Policy Working group is tracking 11 Massachusetts food-related budget items at the State level that directly impact our SFPC members’ programs and over 11 non-budget MA-related bills.

ACTION: We wrote three letters of testimony during the Senate Budget hearings regarding Budget line items for UMass Extension, Mass in Motion, Healthy Incentives Program, Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program to Senators Rodrigues (Chair of the Senate Ways and Means and representing Bristol County), Sen. Brady also in Senate Ways and Means (representing Plymouth and Bristol Counties), and Senator Montigny representing Bristol County; in which we highlighted the Southcoast Food Policy Council’s partner programs and the impact these programs have on the towns in Bristol County that these Senators represent.

A Legislator profile sheet of our Massachusetts State Senators and Representatives was created to illustrate the Southcoast specific state members, and as we advance through our advocacy efforts, we will be geographically distinct in our testimonial stories, facts, statistics, and letters of support.

To protect, expand or even develop vital food programs, we will need YOUR voices, stories, and facts in the legislative advocacy arena. In the months to come, I hope you will join us in writing letters to your State and national level Senators and Representatives.

Please let me know if your organization is already doing legislative advocacy to strengthen our partnership working together on issues. Thank you!

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to talk at csmith@marioninstitute.org or 508-748-0816 x110. Thank you for your continued support!

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