JF&CS News Winter 2013

Thousands of people in Massachusetts go hungry because they can't afford adequate food. The state's annual report card on hunger revealed that more than 660,000 people are at risk for hunger — a 20% increase over the previous year. Now for the first time, JF&CS is bringing together organizations devoted to helping those in need to form the Greater Boston Hunger Network.

Supported by the Rabb family, the Hunger Network is a coalition of food pantries, soup kitchens, local farms, and food-related programs in eighteen towns in Greater Boston. There are Hunger Networks in other areas of the state, but none existed in Greater Boston until now. In partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank and Project Bread, "the Hunger Network is a powerful way for members to gain knowledge, tackle issues systematically, and get energized about addressing hunger and improving access to healthy foods," said Alison Books Kaufman, JF&CS Director of Hunger and Nutrition and leader of this important initiative.

"The Hunger Network is a way of organizing all the nonprofit food programs into a unit for cooperation, efficiency, and common goals," said Dr. James Rabb. "It's a natural fit for JF&CS. We have the largest kosher pantry in New England and a huge distribution area. This brings together community needs and the strengths of JF&CS."

Program champions James Rabb, MD, gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, his wife Melinda Rabb, professor of English at Brown University, and James' sister Betty Schafer and her husband Jack Schafer have been active supporters of JF&CS for nearly thirty years. An overseer at the Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition, Dr. Rabb is on the JF&CS Board of Directors and has served on both the JF&CS Hunger and Nutrition Advisory Committee and the JF&CS Home Health/Home Care Professional Advisory Council since their inception.

The Rabbs' commitment to the Hunger Network is in honor of their parents, the late Charlotte (Dolly) and Irving Rabb, vice chairman of Stop and Shop, who were renowned supporters of educational, cultural, and human service organizations throughout Greater Boston. "My father was in the food business, I'm in nutritional health – it all just came together," said Dr. Rabb. "JF&CS is a great organization. It's been very gratifying to work with everyone there. My father and mother felt the same way. I'm honoring their legacy."

Alison concluded, "Dr. Rabb wanted to make a lasting difference in the spirit of his parents. He has offered countless hours of his time and his involvement is inspiring. I think very highly of him and his family for all of their contributions."

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.