Wilmot To Be Honored With Project Bread’s Patrick Hughes Award for Social Justice at 56th Annual Walk for Hunger

Special to the Journal

On May 5, Greg Wilmot, Boston native and Framingham resident, will be honored at Project Bread’s 56th annual Walk for Hunger with the Patrick Hughes Award for Social Justice, named for the late event founder. Wilmot is the President & CEO of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC), Massachusetts’ largest community-based primary care health system, which recently announced it will be rebranding as NeighborHealth this June. Project Bread, the leading statewide food security organization in Massachusetts, recognizes Wilmot’s leadership of the state’s largest community-based primary care provider in Massachusetts, his passion and dedication to the community, and his deep commitment to addressing food insecurity as part of healthcare.

Patrick Hughes created The Walk for Hunger 56 years ago to inspire action – to make people think differently, and to demonstrate the power of a community united for a common purpose.

“An unwavering commitment to social justice is a hallmark of Greg’s leadership from his time at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services through the present at the helm of the state’s largest community-based provider of primary care,” says Erin McAleer, President and CEO of Project Bread.  “Greg is a visionary leader, driving innovation at the intersection of hunger and health. He stands for and lives by the same principles the Walk was founded on.”

“I am deeply humbled to be receiving the Patrick Hughes Award for Social Justice from Project Bread,” says Wilmot. “I grew up in Boston, and The Walk for Hunger is a tradition I’ve experienced as a child walking with my parents and eventually as an adult with my wife. It has always been an important part of how we in Massachusetts take action for food security, and I never imagined years ago that I would be honored by the same organization for my own work to address hunger for Massachusetts residents.”

Wilmot sees firsthand each day how many families are affected by hunger, a major social determinant of patient health. At EBNHC, 70% of patients are below 200% of the federal poverty level, and 20% of patients are uninsured. His organization is committed to providing high quality healthcare to all patients, but Wilmot knows that that care does not end when a patient leaves the exam room.

“If we want to make a meaningful impact in our patients’ lives, we need to work further upstream to address contributing factors to their conditions, such as hunger, housing, and economic mobility,” says Wilmot. “My work at EBNHC is incredibly compelling to me because I know the transformative impact that convenient, affordable care can have, especially for our Black and Brown neighbors, and Project Bread shares this same understanding. Only when we address the basic needs of our community will we begin to close longstanding gaps in health equity.”

In April 2020, Project Bread launched a ground-breaking program to address food security within the healthcare system. Project Bread coordinators work with MassHealth patients whose health is being undermined by food insecurity, providing one-on-one case management support to improve each person’s ability to access and afford food and maintain proper nutrition. EBNHC and Project Bread are decades-long partners, and this innovative program is no exception. Project Bread has supported over 1,400 patients referred by EBNHC.

Prior to assuming the role of President and CEO in 2022, Wilmot served as EBNHC’s Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Executive Director of Neighborhood PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly). He also worked under former Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, in the Administration’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts in various operational and management roles. Currently, Wilmot sits on multiple boards and advisory groups, including the Board of Health for the Boston Public Health Commission, Advocates for Community Health, and Community Servings. He is also on the Board of Trustees for Boston Medical Center Health System.

Wilmot will share opening remarks with the 4,000 people expected to participate in Project Bread’s 56th Walk for Hunger on Sunday, May 5th. Community members can join Wilmont in-person for the 3-mile walk around Boston Common or participate in the “Walk your own way” option from anywhere in the Commonwealth. The one-day celebration will raise more than $1.3 million to support food security for all in Massachusetts.

To register as a participant or volunteer for Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger, or to support a walker or team with a donation, visit projectbread.org/walk or email [email protected]. There is no registration fee or fundraising minimum to participate, although a $250 minimum goal is suggested. Participants who raise $500 or more are recognized as Heart & Sole walkers and receive access to personalized fundraising support, exclusive event gear and invitations to events.

People experiencing food insecurity should call Project Bread’s Hotline (1-800-645-8333), which provides confidential, free assistance getting connected to a variety of food resources in 180 languages and for the hearing impaired. Counselors can pre-screen families and help them to apply for SNAP. Learn more at www.projectbread.org/get-help.

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