LOWELL — The Greater Lowell Community Foundation has announced it has distributed a new round of COVID-19 related grants, providing an additional $180,000 to 17 area nonprofits in Greater Lowell that will address youth food insecurity needs.
The grants were part of the latest round of distributions from the state COVID-19 Grant Program and GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation connected with local nonprofits addressing barriers and needs related to youth food insecurity.
“Youth food insecurity is not a new community problem, but COVID-19 has exacerbated it, and our area has the third-highest increase in the nation,” said GLCF President and CEO Jay Linnehan. “We listened to the community experts that know what it needs to mitigate this growing issue.”
According to Jennifer Aradhya, vice president for marketing and programs at the GLCF, they were able to determine community needs and provide grants to fund short-term needs thanks to data gathered by the Greater Lowell youth food insecurity survey.
“Additionally, GLCF committed to funding a new Mill Market Pantry pilot that could serve as a model to address youth food insecurity at a systemic level,” Aradhya said.
The Mill Market Pantry pilot to address youth food insecurity in schools is a GLCF-funded collaboration between Merrimack Valley Food Bank and Catie’s Closet.
“The support from Greater Lowell Community Foundation and collaboration with Catie’s Closet will help one of our visions come true,” said Amy Pessia, Merrimack Valley Food Bank executive director. “The Merrimack Valley Food Bank staff and board of directors are honored to partner with Catie’s Closet and the schools where the Mill Market Pantry will expand to serve more students. We are grateful for the opportunity to increase access to food by our young neighbors where they learn so that they may succeed.”
The 17 nonprofits receiving grants in the latest round of the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to address youth food insecurity are:
- Aaron’s Presents — Food Support for Youth and Families — $12,000
- Billerica Community Pantry Inc. — funding to increase nutritious kid-friendly foods — $10,000
- Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell — Teen Night Dinners — $13,000
- Catie’s Closet Inc. — Improving Food Security for Students in the Lowell Public Schools (LPS) — $10,000
- Coalition for a Better Acre — CBA Walk-In Food Center — $10,000
- Community Teamwork Inc. (CTI) — Fresh food grocery bags for delivery to our youth and Early Learning sites — $10,000
- Dwelling House of Hope — Food for — $10,000
- Gaining Ground Inc. — Healthy Meals and Produce for HeadStart Children and Families — $10,000
- Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell — Girls Against Hunger food insecurity program — $13,000
- Greater Lowell Family YMCA — USDA Healthy Food Distribution — $12,000
- Merrimack Valley Food Bank Inc. — Operation Nourish — $10,000
- Middlesex Community College — College Food Pantry supplies — $10,000
- Mill City Grows — partner with LPS to distribute fresh, locally grown produce to low-income families — $10,000
- People Helping People Inc. — Lunch Program for Kids and Youth Food Insecurity Needs Assessment — $10,000
- Townsend Ecumenical Outreach — Youth Mobile Mart Food Distribution — $10,000
- UTEC Inc. — UTEC Youth Food Security Work — $10,000
- YWCA of Lowell — The Roaming Food Bus will deliver food to youth in high-risk neighborhoods — $10,000
“We continue to be so thankful for the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and their support of our youth food security work,” said UTEC CEO Gregg Croteau. “Being able to continue our culinary workforce development program and connect it to food justice, while also providing free, nutritious meals to our young people and throughout the community, has greatly benefited from their partnership.”
Since March 2020, through grants from its GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, Massachusetts COVID Relief Fund, and Commonwealth COVID Grant Program, the foundation has supported 127 local nonprofit organizations with 301 grants totaling over $4.1 million.
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.