Quincy, Mass. — The first contribution to a new charitable program to combat hunger in Massachusetts was made at Father Bill’s & Mainspring, a not-for-profit emergency shelter in Quincy, at an event featuring regional property/casualty insurer Arbella Insurance Group, its agents and Celtics great Jo Jo White.

The new program, called Arbella “Let’s Drive Out Hunger,” is a direct response from the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation to the alarming growth in hunger in Massachusetts. The program will run through the end of February 2009.

The program matches any and all of Arbella agents’ gifts to food pantries in their communities, with a 2-1 match and up to a $500 Arbella Foundation contribution per agent. It effectively triples the agents’ donation to the food banks in their community. And the total amount given by the Arbella Foundation will be entirely dependent on how many of Arbella’s 400+ agents contribute and how much.

“We have a long history of working to combat hunger, partnering with and supporting local food pantries and fantastic organizations like Project Bread,” says John Donohue, chairman and CEO of Arbella Insurance Group. “It’s part of our corporate citizenship, and I like to think its part of our DNA. It’s the reason we formed the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, and we can think of no better reason and no better time to make a push to combat hunger. Our agents are throughout the Commonwealth, and are incredibly active in their communities. By bundling our contribution with theirs, we increase their impact in their home community. And by making it a challenge grant, I hope we support and inspire our agents to do even more.”

Hunger in the state is increasing at an alarming rate, with 522,000 residents struggling to put food on the table, according to the Project Bread Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts published just over a month ago.

Source: Arbella Insurance Group

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