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GLCF Tackles Barriers To Food In Latest COVID-19 Response Grants

Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF)

LOWELL – The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) announced it deployed a new round of COVID-19 related grants, providing an additional $72,000 to seven area nonprofits in Greater Lowell addressing mobile pantry and food delivery needs. These grants were part of the latest round of distributions from the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
GLCF connected with local nonprofits addressing barriers to food imposed by lack of mobility and transportation. This barrier to food is particularly prevalent among seniors, the disabled, quarantined, and low income. The organizations selected have continued to meet an unprecedented spike in demand for access to food amid the coronavirus crisis.
“Mobile food pantries and delivery programs remove location as a barrier to access for food,” said GLCF president & CEO Jay Linnehan. “GLCF recognizes the unprecedented need to address the food security implications and fund creative solutions to get food to residents.”
According to a recent report released by Feeding America in October 2020, Massachusetts has the highest projected rate percent change in food insecurity  between 2018 and 2020 at 59 percent. 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 roughly 4 in 10 people visiting food banks had not received food assistance before the pandemic. 
Among the organizations funded was 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.) This effort will be coordinated with our Westford and Chelmsford Housing Authority Directors and the Westford Food Pantry. We are thrilled to bring this exciting collaborative mobile meal option to Westford.” 
Additionally, Open Table was awarded $15,000 to support Greater Lowell mobile outreach support. “Recently, Open Table received a generous grant from the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. It will support getting 100s 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 due to mobility or access in 19 GLCF communities beyond Lowell. These grants were made possible by an anonymous donor grant that partnered with the GLCF to distribute funding to area nonprofits battling hunger in Greater Lowell.  
The seven nonprofits receiving grants in the latest round of the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to address food insecurity are:
  • Carlisle Council on Aging - Mobile Outreach/Delivery of Meals to Vulnerable Residents - $5,000
  • Catie’s Closet, Inc. - 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. - COVID  mobile pantry support - $18,000
  • Open Table - 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 Amy Pessia, Merrimack Valley Food Bank’s Executive Director. “Additionally, we will be able to serve even more people who are referred by community agencies/partners, who are isolating/quarantining due to COVID.”
Since March, through grants from its GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and the Massachusetts COVID Relief Fund, the foundation has supported 115 local nonprofit organizations with 229 grants totaling over 2,825,756.
Donations to the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund can be made online at or by mail to the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund c/o GLCF, 100 Merrimack Street, Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852. 
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF), founded in 1997, is a philanthropic organization comprised of over 350 funds, currently totaling over $50MM, dedicated to improving the quality of life in 20 neighboring cities and towns. The Community Foundation annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students. GLCF is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from its staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. Our donors’ generosity has enabled GLCF to award more than $25 million to the Greater Lowell community.
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