Family Volunteer Event Helps to Close the Summer Meal Gap!

Summer Family Volunteer Event at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
Tuesday, July 1 from 12noon –  4pm

You can help close this “Summer Meal Gap” for working families in Western Massachusetts by bringing your family to The Food Bank’s Summer Family Volunteer Event on Tuesday, July 1 from 12noon-4pm in Hatfield, MA. Everyone is welcomed.

Without school meals, grocery budgets are stretched to the brink, and many parents find it difficult to replace the two to three free meals they receive five days a week during the school year. Nearly half of the families must make tough choices between paying for food and paying for utilities, fuel, rent, mortgage or medical care, because they don’t have enough money to meet all these basic needs.

How important are school meals to kids in our area?

  • 1 out of 5 children in Western Massachusetts are classified as “Food Insecure.”
  • More than 365,000 children (nearly 2/5 of Massachusetts students) receive free or reduced meals in school.
  • Families that rely on school feeding programs must provide an additional 10 meals per child for each week of summer!

You Can Help

You can help close this “Summer Meal Gap” for working families in Western Massachusetts by bringing your family to The Food Bank’s Summer Family Volunteer Event. Read the rest of this entry »

Farm Film Fest in the Berkshires

Farm Film Fest: A Day of Film and Food
Sunday, March 13th in the Berkshires

In celebration of Spring and the upcoming growing season, the Williams College Sustainable Food & Agriculture Program, Storey Publishing and Images Cinema will present Farm Film Fest: A Day of Film and Food on Sunday afternoon, March 13. Hosted by Images Cinema at 50 Spring Street in Williamstown, two screenings and five films about food and farming will be presented beginning at 1 p.m. Mezze Catering will present a cheese tasting between screenings featuring local cheeses from Massachusetts, Vermont and New York State.

“The Berkshire region is truly a leader in the ‘honest food’ movement – most of the issues play out here, and in the Berkshires we’ve found solutions that have often had national significance,” said Deborah Burns, acquiring editor at Storey Publishing. “The Farm Film Fest is an opportunity for our local community to connect with global issues surrounding the food movement.”

This is the second year for Farm Film Fest, which originated from the surging interest in food and farm issues and the many films that are addressing various aspects of this urgent subject.  Read the rest of this entry »

ACTION ALERT: Tell Toy Companies: Target Parents, Not Kids, With Holiday Ads

CCFC to Toy Marketers: Leave Kids Alone during Economic Crisis;
Companies Urged to Target Parents Instead this Holiday Season

As families struggle to cope with the global economic crisis, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is urging major retailers and toy and game manufacturers to suspend holiday marketing aimed at children and to target parents instead. In a letter sent to twenty-four CEO’s, CCFC urged companies not to exacerbate family stress by flooding children with ads for toys and games that their parents may not be able to afford. CCFC also launched a letter-writing campaign so that parents could share their concerns directly with companies planning to market to children this holiday season.

“It’s cruel for companies to dangle irresistible ads for toys and electronics in front of children when parents everywhere are worried about their financial future and paying for necessities,” said CCFC’s Director Dr. Susan Linn. “A barrage of holiday marketing will create unrealistic expectations in children too young to understand the economic crises and will make parenting in these uncertain times even more difficult.”

Concerns about the economy are so great that experts predict parents will spend less on toys and gifts for children this holiday season. Reports indicate, however, that spending on advertising to children will not reflect the current economic downturn. CCFC’s letter warns that the combination of commercial pressures on children with inevitable belt-tightening by parents will create a tremendous burden for many families.

Even in better economic times, buying holiday gifts can be a considerable strain on family budgets. A 2005 poll found that approximately one-third of Americans took more than three months to pay off their holiday credit card debt and 14% carried credit card debt into the next holiday season.

“It is bad enough in normal times when marketers bypass parents and encourage children to nag for products,” said Dr. Linn. “But to do so during such a pervasive economic downturn is unconscionable.”

CCFC is urging companies to adopt a different approach. The letter states:

We understand the need to create awareness of your products. We urge you to do that by advertising directly to parents instead of enlisting children as lobbyists for their holiday gifts. Since it’s parents, not children, who can truly understand their family’s financial situation in these difficult times, it is more important than ever that you respect their authority as gatekeepers. Target parents instead of children this holiday season.

The complete text of the letter can be found at:

The complete list of companies that received the letter can be found here:

Read the rest of this entry »

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