All members of our community deserve meaningful opportunities to meet their needs and achieve their potential. For those individuals seeking to rise out of poverty, particular challenges may stand in their way. For this reason, it has long been a priority of Greater Worcester Community Foundation to support organizations that address the basic needs of Worcester County residents.

Founded in 2011, the Worcester County Food Bank Fund to End Hunger has been awarding grants to nonprofits that share the vision of hunger-free communities. This year, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Foundation was also able to fund small capital projects for nonprofits working to alleviate hunger and homelessness through the Basic Needs Capital Grants program.

These two grant programs combined were able to award over $151,000 to 30 different organizations.

“Many of the organizations we see working in the hunger and homelessness sphere are lean operations,” said Foundation Program Officer Sarah Shugrue. “They often have to make tough choices when it comes to spending money and the irony is that they have their own basic needs.”

Appliances, storage equipment, vehicles, educational tools, and salary support are a few of the needs outlined in funded grant requests.

“These essentials can be difficult to acquire,” continued Shugrue, “While many funding sources can't cover them, the Foundation can. Through the Fund to End Hunger and Basic Needs Capital Grants organizations are supported as they make critical capacity improvements that ultimately enable them to better serve their communities with efficiency, cultural competency, and dignity.”

The 2019 recipients of the Worcester County Food Bank Fund to End Hunger received a total of $61,910. Grantees include:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Worcester: Awarded $3,000 for salary support for two teen positions at its Kids Cafe.
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Worcester: Awarded $3,000 for various equipment purchases for its Emergency Stabilization & Homelessness Prevention Program.
  • Community Legal Aid, Inc.: Awarded $3,000 for support for Emerson Fellow to partner on project reducing barriers to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
  • Dismas House of Central Massachusetts: Awarded $3,000 for purchase of gardening equipment for its Recovery Grows Worcester program.
  • El Buen Samaritano Food Program: Awarded $2,900 for food program equipment purchase.
  • Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc.: Awarded $3,000 for nutrition education programs for patients with chronic illnesses.
  • Friendly House, Inc.: Awarded $3,000 for equipment repair costs.
  • Growing Places Garden Project: Awarded $3,000 for monthly pop-up farmers markets at Mount Wachusett Community College and social media awareness campaign on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
  • Highland Baptist Church Food Pantry: Awarded $3,000 for food pantry operational support.
  • Net of Compassion: Awarded $3,000 for equipment purchase for Main Street Saturday Program, a weekly Saturday homeless meal service program.
  • Opening Heaven's Door Ministries Inc.: Awarded $3,000 for equipment purchase.
  • Our Father's House: Awarded $3,575 for kitchen equipment purchase for emergency homeless shelter.
  • Pernet Family Health Service, Inc.: Awarded $3,000 for Emergency Assistance Food Pantry and Infant Supplies program.
  • Rachel's Table: Awarded $1,500 for operational support.
  • Rainbow Child Development Center: Awarded $3,000 for Seeds of Change, a nutritional education programming in partnership with Community Harvest Project.
  • Regional Environmental Council, Inc.: Awarded $3,000 for garden manager salary support and educational supplies for garden workshops for its Worcester School Gardens Network program.
  • Spanish American Center, Inc.: Awarded $3,000 for support of monthly food demonstrations utilizing United Way's dinner kits.
  • Tasks for Transit, Inc.: Awarded $1,000 for its WRTA Single-Day Pass Program, distributing monthly bus passes to social service agencies to help their clients access services.
  • United Way of Tri-County: Awarded $3,360 for transportation costs to increase access to its Wheat Community Connections program for elderly residents.
  • Winchendon Community Action Committee: Awarded $3,000 for expansion of community gardens program and purchase of a greenhouse.
  • Worcester Community Action Council Inc.: Awarded $3,000 for its Culinary Job Training Program, aimed at preparing low-income Worcester residents for careers, launching them toward self-sufficiency.
  • YMCA of Central Massachusetts: Awarded $1,575 for equipment purchase for domestic violence shelter.

Basic Needs Grants totaled $90,000 and recipients include the following:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Worcester: Awarded $4,500 for food pantry equipment purchase.
  • Catholic Charities Worcester County: Awarded $2,500 for food storage equipment purchase.
  • Central MA Housing Alliance: Awarded $5,000 to provide purchase support for new truck for use by furniture distribution program.
  • Community Harvest Project, Inc.: Awarded $5,000 to provide purchase support for all-terrain utility vehicle for use on 15 acre farm.
  • Dismas House of Central Massachusetts: Awarded $7,500 for support of increased residential capacity and facility renovations at the farm.
  • Friendly House: Awarded $10,000 for roof repair to keep main program building fully available for services.
  • Growing Places Garden Project, Inc.: Awarded $3,250 for equipment purchase for central warehouse.
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Worcester: Awarded $2,600 for IT equipment purchase for use by clients and staff.
  • Jeremiah's Inn: Awarded $3,500 for equipment purchase.
  • Living in Freedom Together (LIFT): Awarded $10,000 for support of renovations to Jana's Place, a residential treatment facility.
  • Nativity School of Worcester: Awarded $1,500 for purchase of additional equipment needed at recently launched family food pantry.
  • Our Father's House, Inc.: Awarded $10,000 for purchase of 65 mattresses for Transitions at Devens Shelter, a residential shelter.
  • Rachel's Table: Awarded $2,150 for purchase of IT equipment for use by program and operations staff.
  • Regional Environmental Council: Awarded $10,000 for support of fencing repair and replacement at 3 community gardens.
  • UPC - Blackstone Valley Emergency Shelter: Awarded $2,500 for purchase of emergency systems that will allow new facility to be used as emergency shelter.
  • YWCA of Central Massachusetts: Awarded $10,000 for equipment purchase at transitional housing facility.