LOWELL — The Greater Lowell Community Foundation continues its work to address the spike in need for food access amid the coronavirus crisis.
The nonprofit deployed a new round of COVID-19 related grants, providing an additional $72,000 to seven area nonprofits in Greater Lowell that address mobile pantry and food-delivery needs, according to a GLCF press release.
The grants are part of the latest round of distributions from the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which has helped 115 area nonprofits with more than $2.8 million in grants since March.
GLCF connected with local nonprofits dealing with barriers to food imposed by lack of mobility and transportation. The barriers are prevalent among seniors, the disabled, those who are quarantined and low-income residents, according to GLCF.
According to a report released by Feeding America in October 2020, Massachusetts has the highest projected rate percentage change in food insecurity between 2018 and 2020 at 59%.
Greater Lowell nonprofits addressing food insecurity report a record increase in the number of people needing assistance, with an average increase of 55% more demand than before the pandemic. Feeding America has found that about 4 in 10 people visiting food banks had not received food assistance before the pandemic.
Among the organizations funded is the Cameron Senior Center in Westford.
“The Cameron Senior Center is fortunate to be awarded a grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation-COVID 19 funding round,” said Jennifer Claro, Westford Council on Aging director. “These funds will provide our most vulnerable residents with a mobile meal option with food partnerships which include Open Table (Maynard) and UTEC’s MADD Love Meals (Lowell).”
“We are thrilled to bring this exciting, collaborative mobile meal option to Westford,” Claro added.
Also receiving funding is Open Table, based in Maynard, which was awarded $15,000 to support Greater Lowell mobile outreach support.
“(The grant) will support getting hundreds of prepared and healthy meals to families that have been hit hard by the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic,” said Open Table’s Executive Director Jeanine Calabria. “We are so pleased to have the funding to support our mobile meals coordinator position. It was the final piece needed to ensure the success of our expanded prepared meals-delivery program.”
The seven nonprofits receiving these grants serve more than 5,000 food-insecure individuals who cannot access food in 19 communities served by GLCF. The grant was made possible by an anonymous donor grant that partnered with the GLCF.
Below is a list of the seven nonprofits receiving grants, what the funding will be used for and how much they will receive:
- Carlisle Council on Aging: Mobile Outreach/Delivery of Meals to Vulnerable Residents, $5,000
- Catie’s Closet Inc. (Dracut): COVID mobile outreach/gift cards, $3,000
- Gaining Ground Inc. (Concord): COVID-Mobile Outreach/Delivery of Fresh Produce to Those in Need, $25,000
- Merrimack Valley Food Bank Inc. (Lowell): COVID mobile pantry support, $18,000
- Open Table (Maynard): Mobile Meals Coordinator, $15,000
- People Helping People Inc. (Burlington): COVID mobile outreach/delivery, $3,000
- Westford Council on Aging/Cameron Senior Center: COVID mobile outreach/delivery, $3,000
The Merrimack Valley Food Bank received a grant for the Mobile Pantry to provide nutritional support to the elderly and/or disabled.
“This grant will allow us to continue serving our neighbors beyond Lowell, in the cities and towns we serve through our Mobile Pantry,” said Merrimack Valley Food Bank’s Executive Director Amy Pessia. “Additionally, we will be able to serve even more people who are referred by community agencies/partners, who are isolating/quarantining due to COVID.”
Donations to the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund can be made online at glcfoundation.org or by mail to the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund c/o GLCF, 100 Merrimack St., Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852.