BOSTON- Senator Sal DiDomenico recently spoke at the Chelsea Healthy & Affordable Food Summit. The event was organized by the Healthy Chelsea Youth Food Movement and Chelsea Hunger Network, two groups that are dedicated to fighting food insecurity and promoting good nutrition.
The event was the first large, multisector summit of its kind in Chelsea to address food insecurity and healthy food access. The summit brought together representatives from Chelsea’s food pantries, soup kitchens, and other agencies that are working to address food insecurity in the city of Chelsea.
At the event, the Senator emphasized the severity of food insecurity in the Commonwealth and the need to combat it through comprehensive legislation. DiDomenico has long made food insecurity and nutrition policy a top priority and has been a leading champion for anti-hunger policies in the Massachusetts Legislature.
“When I first began working on the Senate Kids First initiative and talking to different stakeholders and advocates, I was shocked at how frequently hunger was cited as a major issue here in Massachusetts, especially for our children.” said DiDomenico. “This is why I have made anti-hunger policies a key component of my legislative profile. This session in particular, I have filed a number of bills that would help fight food insecurity and promote good nutrition here in the Commonwealth. I am proud to support the work that Healthy Chelsea and the Chelsea Hunger Network are doing on the local level through my own work at the State House.”
DiDomenico has filed three pieces of legislation this session that would have a direct impact on food insecurity here in the Commonwealth:
- An Act relative to breakfast after the bell- This legislation would require all public K-12 schools with 60% or more students eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the federal National School Lunch Program to offer breakfast after the instructional day begins to increase student participation in free and reduced price breakfasts and decrease the amount of kids that start the school day hungry.
- An Act to lift the cap on kids - This legislation would lift the so-called “family cap” that denies additional benefits to children conceived while a family was receiving benefits, leaving 9,000 children in poverty without basic essentials.
- An Act improving public health through a common application for core food, health and safety-net programs - This bill would create a common application portal to let low-income households apply for MassHealth and SNAP at the same time, thereby consolidating the application process and raising awareness of SNAP eligibility. This bill would help more low income students access free school meals, increasing food access for over 100,000 Massachusetts elders, and help more families meet their basic needs.
“The Chelsea Healthy & Affordable Food Summit was a fantastic event that raised awareness on this critical issue for our Commonwealth and our community, and I’d like to congratulate everyone who helped to make it such a success,” DiDomenico added. “And a special thank you to Healthy Chelsea, the Chelsea Hunger Network, and the many advocates who are on the front lines fighting against food insecurity every day.”