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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
During the COVID-19 public health crisis, the percent of families experiencing food insecurity in the Commonwealth grew from 8.2% pre-pandemic to 19.6%. While our economy has reopened, the rates at which households recover has been disproportionate and many still face the same challenges of getting nutritious meals on the table.
To address this issue, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting in the affirmative on H.3999, An Act promoting student nutrition. This legislation ensures universal free lunch and breakfast for students in high-poverty schools in the Commonwealth.
  • Requires school districts and individual schools with at least 60% of students qualifying for free or reduced school meals to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students.
  • Requires individual schools with at least 50% of students qualifying for free or reduced school meals to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students.
This legislation is now awaiting action from Governor Baker.
Yours in Service,
Denise

District Updates

  • In Needham, the Town is conducting another round of Small Repair Grant Program for grants of up to $5,000 to help Needham homeowners make health and safety repairs to their homes. To apply, click here or contact the Town’s Community Housing Specialist, Karen Sunnarborg at ksunnarborg@needhamma.gov.
  • The Needham Community Council is currently offering an English Language Learning program for adults who live or work in Needham. This program is free of cost and all levels of learners are welcome! If you are interested, please fill out a Student Interest Form and staff will contact you to match you with a tutor. For more information, click here.
  • In Dover, the Dover Cultural Council has announced this year’s grant application cycle. The Council provides grants to support a variety of artistic projects and activities that serve the Dover community. Completed proposals are due Friday, October 15. For more information, click here.
  • In Medfield, the Cultural Alliance of Medfield is hosting Jean Appolon Expressions’ “TRAKA” at the Medfield State Hospital on Monday, October 11 from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM. This is a free performance and interactive workshop that explores how we can heal trauma through movement and community. For more information and to register, click here.

Legislative Updates

  • Today, I testified before the Joint Committee on Public Health in support of my legislation, H.2298, An Act relative to establishing and implementing a food and health pilot program. This legislation establishes the first pilot in the nation to evaluate the impact of guaranteed access to a spectrum of nutrition services to meet individual need within a health care system. Demonstrating the value of these services is a critical first step to developing sustainable funding streams for these programs.
  • On Wednesday, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives to vote in the affirmative on H.4194, An Act upgrading hen welfare and establishing uniform cage free standards. This legislation updates current laws regarding the prevention of cruelty to farm animals. The bill updates floor space requirements for certain cage-free housing systems, expands covered products to include egg products, and authorizes the Department of Agricultural Resources to promulgate rules and regulations in enforcement.

Statewide Updates

  • COVID-19 booster vaccines are available for individuals 65 years of age and older and individuals 18-64 years of age at risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions, and individuals 18-64 years of age who are at increased risk for COVID-19 because of occupational or institutional settings who have previously received the Pfizer vaccine. If you are eligible, you may find a location through VaxFinder or by calling the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line at 2-1-1. For more information on the COVID-19 booster, click here.