Greetings from the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Berkshire Interfaith Organizing is a group of clergy, their congregations and regional affiliates who, together, grounded in faith, seek to make justice real in our community.
We are writing to you about a grave concern that affects approximately 77,000 vulnerable children, parents and other adults in Massachusetts. In the past year, federal cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- formerly Food Stamps), and changes at the Department of Transitional Assistance have resulted in thousands of erroneous SNAP denials/closings. This amounts to over $115 million being cut from food spending in Massachusetts in 2014. As a result, our local food pantries have seen a dramatic increase in working families with children relying on emergency food.
We ask that you contact your legislators before April 17 and ask them to vote to increase MEFAP -- Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program -- line item DAR 2511-0105 in the state budget from $15 million to $20 million. This line item supports the four Food Banks in Massachusetts that supply emergency food to our pantries. While this will not solve the long-term problem of hunger and poverty, it will provide humanitarian relief for impoverished Massachusetts residents denied Federal food benefits.
For more information about the SNAP Crisis and DAR 2511-0105, visit www.foodbankwma.org/take-action. Stand with us as we let our legislators know that MEFAP Matters!
Yours in the Vision of Social Justice for All,
The Executive Council of Berkshire Interfaith Organizing (BIO)
P.O. Box 1133, Pittsfield, MA 01202
Congregation Beth Israel, North Adams
Congregation Knesset Israel, Pittsfield
First Church of Christ on Park Square, Pittsfield
First Congregational Church, Dalton
First Congregational Church, Williamstown
Lee Congregational Church, Lee
Sisters of St. Joseph
South Congregational Church, Pittsfield
St. Mark Catholic Parish, Pittsfield
St. Mary of the Assumption, Cheshire
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Williamstown
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Pittsfield
Berkshire UCC Association
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
Catholic Charities Agency, Springfield
Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
Unitarian Universalist Fund for a Just Society
Presbyterian Church, USA