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United Way provides additional assistance to area families


FITCHBURG — Following a series of grants, late last year, to food pantries and utility assistance programs, United Way of North Central Massachusetts announced 13 additional grants to help meet the protracted demand for basic needs.

“While the number of families looking for food and utility assistance has slowed since the holidays, we are still dealing with significant demand, ” commented Phil Grzewinski, president of United Way of North Central Massachusetts.

United Way of North Central Massachusetts created its Supplemental Basic Needs Fund to provide immediate emergency relief to individuals and families in the North Central Massachusetts region. In November, it distributed $55,000 and with this round, $27,400.

As contributions are received, United Way is directing 100 percent of the dollars to existing health and human service providers in its 19-town service territory.

“In addition to purchasing food for the frontline agencies, we are also purchasing freezers for four agencies so they have the capacity to store enough food for the increased demand,” commented Grzewinski.

Workers’ Credit Union, IC Federal Credit Union, Fidelity Bank and Rollstone Bank & Trust, along with several individuals, have donated to the fund.

The following agencies received funds to purchase food: Gardner CAC, Our Father’s House, Salvation Army, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Catholic Charities, Ginny’s Helping Hand Food Pantry, Spanish American Center, Loaves and Fishes, Gardner VNA Community Services Pantry, Townsend Ecumenical Food Pantry, Leona Fleming Food Pantry, Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network and Winchendon Community Action Council.

Contributions may be made to the fund by calling 978-345-1577, going online at, or mailing to United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Attn: Supplemental Basic Needs Fund, 285 John Fitch Hwy, Fitchburg, MA 01420.

Residents who need to know where to go for emergency assistance can call 2-1-1, which is a free call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or visit to access their website. The Mass 2-1-1 hotline is prepared to connect callers with help for basic needs and other health and human services.

United Way of North Central Massachusetts serves the communities of Ashburnham, Ashby, Ayer, Barre, Devens, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Harvard, Hubbardston, Leominster, Littleton, Lunenburg, Pepperell, Shirley, Templeton, Townsend, Westminster and Winchendon.