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NEPM newsroom and ‘The Fabulous 413’ focus on hunger in western Mass. ahead of March for the Food Bank

Hunger Awareness Week on 88.5 NEPM. Sponsored by Greenfield Cooperative Bank and Northampton Cooperative Bank; and Ted and Barbara Hebert of Teddy Bear Pools and Spas. nepm.org/hunger

A weeklong reporting series on 88.5 NEPM, Nov. 13 - 17

Nov. 13, 2023, SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — This week is Hunger Awareness Week on 88.5 NEPM. Beginning today, NEPM is airing a reporting series exploring hunger in western Massachusetts, and what’s being done to combat it. Reporting will be featured in “Morning Edition” from 5-9 a.m.; on “The Fabulous 413” from 3-4 p.m.; in “All Things Considered” from 4-6:30 p.m. and online at nepm.org/hunger.

The weeklong reporting effort comes ahead of the 14th Annual March for the Food Bank, Nov. 20-21. The march is led by 88.5 NEPM’s Monte Belmonte, who pushes an empty shopping cart from Springfield to Greenfield to raise awareness about hunger in western Massachusetts along with hundreds of supporters. Over the years, the march has raised millions for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Belmonte, along with Kaliis Smith, joined NEPM in February as co-hosts of “The Fabulous 413,” a daily radio show about life in western Mass. that airs weekdays at 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. on 88.5 NEPM. “The Fabulous 413” is also available as a podcast.

“When I first heard Monte on the radio, I knew he was a talented host,” said Matt Abramovitz, president of NEPM. “But what really got my attention was his commitment to his community. His annual march against hunger is a testament to his belief that local broadcasters have a responsibility to raise awareness about the issues that matter and try to make life better for our friends and neighbors. That's a big part of our mission in public media and I knew he belonged with NEPM.”

Hunger Awareness Week on 88.5 NEPM will feature a variety of stories about how local people, businesses and nonprofits across western Massachusetts are finding innovative and sustainable ways to fight hunger in the region: from an independent grocery store in Chicopee growing produce on its roof, to local food banks working with volunteers to hand-pick produce that was missed during mechanical harvests, a practice called gleaning.

"Year-round, our newsroom sheds light on the important and often overlooked issues in our community — and issues of food insecurity couldn't be more important,” said Sam Hudzik, NEPM’s radio news director. “NEPM reporters will highlight the impact of poverty and hunger faced by too many of our neighbors, as well as some creative solutions from across western Mass.”

NEPM is proud to sponsor the March for the Food Bank, and will share updates from the march throughout the day on 88.5 NEPM and on its social media channels.

"Food is essential for human life and there is plenty of it to go around,” said Belmonte. “The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is looking for solutions to end hunger as we know it, while at the same time providing about 9 million meals every year to our neighbors who need it. Our hope is that this ridiculous 43 mile march, where we wear costumes and push shopping carts, can draw attention to the issues surrounding hunger and raise money towards those 9 million meals."

Hunger Awareness Week on 88.5 NEPM is sponsored by Greenfield Cooperative Bank and Ted and Barbara Hebert of Teddy Bear Pools & Spas.


New England Public Media enriches people’s lives in western Massachusetts and beyond by nurturing curiosity, inspiring community engagement, and reflecting the unique joys of living here. NEPM is the region’s source for PBS and NPR programs and for locally produced news, video and music content.

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Vanessa Cerillo
Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Events
New England Public Media