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Food bank seeks more state funding

By Amelia Pak-Harvey

LOWELL — The Merrimack Valley Food Bank is lobbying for an extra $3 million in next year’s budget for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program, stressing that the need for food banks across the state remains high.

About 37 percent of people in need across the state do not qualify for government benefits, according to MVFB. That means they rely on the state’s network of more than 800 food pantries.

MVFB stressed their need at a legislative open house on Friday.

The emergency assistance program supplies food to food banks throughout the state, including in the Merrimack Valley.

Last year, MVFB distributed 194,656 pounds of Massachusetts-grown food through the state program.
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In total, it distributed 326,212 pounds of produce.

The food bank distributed food to an average of over 32,000 people every month last year.

The requested increase includes $2 million for food and $1 million to level-fund administrative support, according to MVFB Executive Director Amy Pessia. That means a total increase from $17 million to $20 million for MEFAP.

Pessia said a number of Greater Lowell legislators attended the open house, including state Reps. Tom Golden, Rady Mom, a member of Marc Lombardo’s office and Sen. Eileen Donoghue.

“We are so appreciative of the support that our delegates have shown in the past for this, and we were confident that they know people need food to do anything else,” she said.

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