The Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) was established in 1995 to ensure that citizens in need have access to a supply of quality food in the Commonwealth. The program is implemented through a unique partnership between the state and a private, non-profit food distribution network made up of four regional food banks. Funding is provided by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
MEFAP ensures a consistent supply of quality nutrient dense foods and locally grown fresh produce to a statewide network of over 800 emergency food providers. Each provider is a member of one of the four food bank distribution centers.
- The Greater Boston Food Bank
- The Merrimack Valley Food Bank
- The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and
- The Worcester County Food Bank
For Fiscal Year 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, the four regional food banks collectively distributed over 83.7 million pounds of food, about 27 million pounds (32%) of which was purchased through MEFAP. Total funding provided by the Department of Agricultural Resources for food purchasing was $16,413,831.00. An additional $1 million was provided for operational costs to handle and distribute the food.