Resolved, that there shall be a commission to study the increase in childhood hunger in norfolk county as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission shall consist of the commissioner of public health or a designee, who shall serve as chair; the secretary of the executive office of health and human services or a designee; the commissioner of transitional assistance or a designee; the commissioner of elementary and secondary education or a designee; the commissioner of agricultural resources or a designee; the house and senate members of the Massachusetts food policy council; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on public health; a representative from the medical community specializing in childhood nutrition; a representative of project bread; a representative of the greater boston food bank; a norfolk county commissioner or a designee; a representative from a norfolk county food pantry; and a representative from the norfolk county farm bureau.
The commission shall study the increase in childhood hunger and access to food in norfolk county as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission shall evaluate the causes and solutions for childhood hunger in norfolk county and generate a report which shall examine:
(i) childhood hunger in norfolk county prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic;
(ii) causes of childhood hunger in norfolk county as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
(iii) projected impact of increase in hunger on children in norfolk county, including but not limited to, educational development and health;
(iv) methods for accessing food in norfolk county, including but not limited to, access to grocery stores, food banks, food pantries, and school meal programs;
(v) types of foods being distributed by food banks and food pantries in norfolk county, including the nutritional value of said foods;
(vi) methods for improving access to food in norfolk county; including but not limited to, increased food distribution programs through schools, food banks and food pantries; and
(vii) solutions to aid childhood hunger in norfolk county, including but not limited to, state financial assistance, the development of food access network within norfolk county, and proposed legislation.
The commission shall make recommendations regarding actions required to alleviate childhood hunger in norfolk county. In addition, the commission shall consider issues related to disparities in nutrition and access to food, and the impact of hunger on children’s educational development and health.
Not later than December 31, 2021, the commission shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations, together with any proposed legislation, to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives.
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