BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced Thursday that the state has allocated $41 million to fight urgent food insecurity across the Bay State as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding implements the recommendations of the state’s Food Security Task Force, which was convened by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center in response to increased demands for food assistance, Baker and Polito said during a news conference that followed a tour of the Greater Boston Food Bank.

The task force is comprised of a broad group of public and private members who have been charged with ensuring food insecurity and food supply needs are addressed during the ongoing public health emergency.

Baker said the state has also opened applications for the new $36 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to fresh, local food. The request for responses for project proposals can be found here.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the urgent needs and food supply chain issues for communities across Massachusetts, which is why our Administration is taking significant steps to strengthen food security in the Commonwealth,” Baker said. “By supporting projects that increase the resilience of the Commonwealth’s food supply chain, we can ensure that families across the Commonwealth, especially vulnerable populations, have greater access to important nutritional resources.”

Polito added, “It is critical that we strengthen our food security infrastructure to ensure that Massachusetts families continue to have access to fresh, local food.”

In addition to the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, the administration also announced $5 million in new funding for the Healthy Incentives Program.

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