Special to the Independent
On Thursday, November 10, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) held its 17th annual Chain of Giving event in its original format, a tradition engaging civic and community leaders to draw awareness to the critical issue of food insecurity in our region and GBFB’s Hunger Free Holidays campaign in support of hunger relief this holiday season.
Sponsored by Affiliated Managers Group (AMG), the event featured a formal speaking program including remarks from Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General and Governor-Elect Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and GBFB President and CEO Catherine D’Amato. Also in attendance were Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Salem Mayor and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Kim Driscoll, State Senator Sal DiDomenico and beloved Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster among other VIPs.
Attendees formed a human chain from GBFB’s loading dock to its freezer, passing along over 1,200 turkeys to be distributed to families in need for the holidays.
“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome you in person for the first time since 2019 and are deeply grateful for your participation and dedication to our mission,” said D’Amato to attendees. “As we continue to feed the 190 communities of Eastern Massachusetts, the demand for food assistance persists at its highest level in the Food Bank’s 40-year history. Many of our neighbors are still struggling from the aftershocks of the pandemic amid skyrocketing food, fuel and housing costs. We have so much more to do, yes, but we have so much to be grateful and hopeful for.”
GBFB also presented the Everett High School Crimson Tide Marching Band with the Nally Award. Established in 2006, the Nally Award honors Danny and Betsy Nally from Westwood, MA and is given to a student or students who have made impactful contributions to ending hunger in their community. The first band to be reorganized in Massachusetts during the middle of the pandemic, the Everett High School Crimson Tide Marching Band has provided comfort to families when called upon for funerals and volunteered at many hunger-relief organizations including GBFB’s partner Grace Food Pantry, Harvest on The Vine and Food Can Drives for the Homeless. Members Sal DiDomenico, Jr., Enrico Vega and Rocco Ortiz accepted the award.
“Everett High School is the most diverse high school in the state, and that diversity is reflected in the makeup of this nationally recognized performing arts group,” said D’Amato. “Their commitment to community service is just as strong for their love of music. They are exemplary community members who always say yes, ask how they can help, and give back to their community.”
GBFB’s most recent food insecurity study showed that as many as 1 in 3 adults in Massachusetts experienced food insecurity in 2021. This high level of need also puts increased pressure on food pantries across the region to provide more food. GBFB’s study estimated that food pantry use among food insecure adults increased 44% from 2020 to 2021. GBFB expects heightened food pantry use to continue throughout the rest of this year into 2023. Through December 31, GBFB is inviting individuals and teams to donate online in support of its Hunger Free Holidays campaign. This year, GBFB aims to provide 90 million healthy meals across 190 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts. More information on donating as a team or individual is available online at GBFB.org/Holidays.