We are a cross-sector collaboration between leaders who are dedicated to reducing the health consequences of hunger. H2HC builds alliances with partners who believe that health begins with reliable access to nutritious food.
What We Do
The Hunger to Health Collaboratory (H2HC) advocates for policies that advance equity, access, and wellbeing. H2HC recognizes that food insecurity and overlapping social determinants of health are systemic issues that require a cross-sector approach to eradicate. Strong, equitable policies further our mission to reduce the health consequences of hunger.
H2HC convenes organizations across industries to have candid conversations about systemic injustice. Together, we can help each other excel in our fields and create a healthier world through relationship. Fostering connections that matter through convening is a key H2HC priority that we believe will lead to innovative solutions to our most difficult problems.
H2HC promotes models, programs, and ideas that advance food security and positive health outcomes. Our Mobilizing Health Care for a Hunger Free Massachusetts grant program is a great example of H2HC’s desire to promote grassroots organizations and innovative, community-based interventions to reduce food insecurity and promote health through nutrition.
In 2017, Mark McGowan, then President of Stop & Shop and a member of The Greater Boston Food Bank board of directors, attended a meeting. The Director of Health and Research shared her team’s work on the connection between the health and hunger. She shared how reliable access to and consumption of healthy, commonsense foods can have a transformational effect on chronic health conditions, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Mark was inspired by what was shared that day, which spearheaded discussions around ways Stop & Shop could partner with GBFB to address the “upstream” causes of hunger.
Acting together was the easy part. Stop & Shop had been a longtime supporter of the food bank. Acting differently was the challenge. Stop & Shop and GBFB realized that it would take expanded and deeper partnerships to address the root causes of food insecurity and corresponding poor health outcomes. We needed to collaborate. With $4.4 million of funding from Stop & Shop promised over four years, the Hunger to Health Collaboratory was born.
H2HC is a cross-sector initiative of “unusual suspects” who are dedicated to reducing the health consequences of hunger. H2HC engages advocates, leaders, and experts to create and leverage connections that contribute to raising awareness about and eventually eradicating hunger-related health issues.
Executive Director, Hunger to Health Collaboratory
Nicolene Hengen joined the Hunger to Health Collaboratory (H2HC) as its first executive director in July 2021. Her career has been focused in domestic and international public health and higher education, including work at Beth Israel Lahey Health, MIT, Pathfinder International, and others. Nicolene is an insightful systems thinker, determined problem solver, and generous coach skilled in envisioning, leading, and managing complex projects, partnerships, and communications for excellent strategic and stakeholder outcomes. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a master’s in public health from Tulane University.
President and CEO The Greater Boston Food Bank
A tireless advocate for the hungry for more than 40 years, Catherine D’Amato assumed the leadership of The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) in 1995. During her tenure, she has transformed GBFB into a $180 million charitable business and increased GBFB’s distribution from 7.5 million meals a year to more than 82 million healthy meals this past year. She has grown GBFB’s network to include nearly 600 partner food pantries, meal programs and direct distribution sites across the 190 cities and towns across Eastern Massachusetts.
Under D’Amato’s guidance, GBFB has risen to the unprecedented challenge of responding to the surge in hunger due to the COVID-19 pandemic, distributing nearly 100 million pounds in 2020 to GBFB partner agencies that report serving over double the number of people in need. In 2021, GBFB marked its 40th anniversary since its incorporation while also distributing its 1 billionth pound of food which was accelerated by D’Amato’s leadership through the COVID-19 crisis.
President of Stop & Shop
Gordon Reid serves as President of Stop & Shop, a great local brand of Ahold Delhaize USA. Founded in 1914, Stop & Shop now has more than 400 stores across the Northeast and employs nearly 60,000 associates.
Prior to joining Stop & Shop in 2019, Gordon Reid served as President of Giant Food and lead the brand to the number one market share position in each of its local markets. Under his leadership, the company made healthy eating easier and affordable, while also transforming the shopping experience with the customer top of mind and growing home delivery in collaboration with Peapod.
Committed to serving the community, Gordon sits on the boards of Partnership for a Healthier America and The Greater Boston Food Bank. He and his wife reside in Boston, Mass.