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43 Action Items Found

  • Inputs 1.3.1 Increase outreach and education on food donation opportunities, including the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which provides liability protections for donators.
  • Inputs 1.3.2 Implement a state tax credit for farmers and others who donate surplus food. Currently, there is no state tax credit for food donation and only C-corporations are eligible for the federal enhanced tax credits and most Massachusetts farmers do not meet these criteria.[2]
  • Inputs 1.3.3 Explore and implement financial incentives and service fees to support food donation distributors, many of which rely exclusively on charitable donations to fund their work.
  • Inputs 1.3.4 Increase refrigerated storage capacity at food pantries through public funding or connections with under-used, existing, nearby facilities to allow food pantries to accept more donations of fresh, perishable foods.
  • Fishing 3.1.5 Distribute sustainably-caught, local seafood to hunger relief organizations.
  • Fishing 3.1.6 Distribute local seafood at retail locations that accept SNAP.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 1.2.1 Support the adoption of a living wage standard for Massachusetts workers, with exceptions for time-limited youth training on production farms and associated retail operations.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.1.1 DTA should review the terminations and denials of all SNAP benefits, and where determined eligible, permit or restore benefits as soon as possible. This would not apply in cases where SNAP benefits were terminated because applicant’s income exceeded the eligibility thresholds.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.1.2 Ensure adequate funding to hire DTA staff for the timely, efficient, and reliable processing of SNAP applications and renewals. The DTA should renew their focus on assisting clients, particularly elders, people with disabilities, and applicants with limited English proficiency, in securing required documentation and verification.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.1.3 Identify and implement best practices for SNAP administration that have been developed in other states, through research and working with the USDA. In particular, improve the existing Virtual Gateway and Beacon systems, to prevent automatic terminations or denials where submitted documents are not reviewed by DTA staff. Ensure DTA staff is trained to facilitate a streamlined application process.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.1.4 Implement federal options to reduce SNAP application barriers for low-income, seniors, and elder populations. Pursue an Elder Simplified Application Pilot (ESAP) to eliminate verification and interview requirements for seniors. Expand the Bay State Combined Application pilot to reach low income elder and disabled Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. Consider allowing community partners to conduct client interviews.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.2.1 Develop, test, and deploy a common application portal, either as improvement to the existing Virtual Gateway or new system, to enable people to apply for SNAP when applying for or renewing MassHealth membership.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.2.2 Explore use of a common application portal for other federal and state benefit programs including the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Income Eligible Child Care; housing assistance benefits; and Cash Assistance benefits to ensure families seeking these benefits are offered simultaneous applications for SNAP and health care programs. Encourage inter-agency referrals under existing programs as an interim measure until a new and improved system is in place.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.3.1 Collaborate with DTA and agencies that assist seniors and persons with disabilities in claiming and verifying un-reimbursed, eligible medical and transportation expenses.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.3.2 Collaborate with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to identify low-income working families who may qualify for SNAP. Assist them with applications, and ensure that families claim all eligible child care, after-school, and transportation expenses.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 2.3.3 Produce client-friendly SNAP outreach educational materials that are ADA-accessible and multi-lingual to highlight all eligible income deductions.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 3.1.1 Leverage and maximize the FINI grant award to increase use of SNAP and complementary benefit programs at farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and for community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. Identify, support, and implement methods to sustain FINI-related healthy food purchasing incentive initiatives.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 3.1.2 Fund the FINI-HIP Trust Fund. The FINI-HIP Trust will enable DTA to engage statewide community partners and private funders to accept financial commitments to support the HIP implementation.
  • Food Access, Security and Health 3.1.4 Encourage Massachusetts’ congressional delegation to continue and increase funding for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).
  • Food Access, Security and Health 3.1.5 Conduct outreach to promote the success and benefit of the FMNP.