Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts awards $1.3M in COVID relief to prevent evictions, hunger

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts announced its latest round of coronavirus relief funds on Wednesday, awarding $1.3 million to help prevent evictions and hunger and to address mental health needs. Grants awarded from the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley to date total $10.2 million to182 agencies in the Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties, the foundation said in a news release.

“More people are struggling to stay in their homes as a result of the devastating consequences of COVID-19 on our economy,” said Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the foundation. “Food insecurity continues to plague the region and there is a marked increase in individuals and families needing behavioral health care services. This latest round is aimed at these critical areas of need.”

The foundation began its pandemic response in March of 2020, providing emergency grants to support nonprofit organizations serving those in greatest need, the foundation said. The effort also included $2 million in stabilization grants in October to 70 nonprofits struggling financially during the pandemic, the foundation said. The foundation expects to award grants in February to organizations that directly support the immigrant population. It has also relaunched Valley Gives, described as a “one-stop-giving” online platform to connect donors with local nonprofits. The foundation’s mission is to enrich the quality of life for people in the region. It relies on donations from various sources including individuals, foundations and businesses.

The church Tabernáculo de Gozo on Sumner Avenue in Springfield was among the latest grant recipients. Pastor Henry Garcia said the grant allowed the church to help approximately 90 people struggling financially. “TDG helped individuals with big utility bills that were behind such as electricity bills, gas bills and rents in arrears,” Garcia said. “We also assisted with COVID-19 protection needs such as hand sanitizer, sanitizer wipes and face tissue.”

Organizations that received the new round of COVID-19 Response grants are:

Friends Food Pantry (Springfield); Amherst Survival Center; Behavioral Health Network (Springfield); Bethany Assembly of God Food Pantry (Agawam); Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke; Caring Health Center (Springfield); Catholic Charities Agency of the Diocese of Springfield; Center for Human Development (Springfield); Clinical & Support Options (Northampton); Community Action Pioneer Valley (Greenfield); Community Health Center of Franklin County (Greenfield); Community Legal Aid; Community Survival Center (Springfield); Easthampton Community Center; Franklin Area Survival Center (Turners Falls); Franklin County Community Meals Program (Greenfield); Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority (Turners Falls); Gandara Mental Health Center (West Springfield); Good Neighbors Food Pantry (Charlemont); Greater Springfield Senior Services; Greater Westfield Emergency Food Pantry; Health Law Advocates; Helping Hands Cupboard Food Pantry (Belchertown); Highland-Valley Elder Services (Northampton); Hilltown Churches Food Pantry (Ashfield); Hilltown Community Health Centers (Worthington); Holyoke Health Center; Iglesia Tabernacolo de Gozo (Springfield); Jubilee Cupboard Food Pantry (Ware); LifePath (Greenfield); Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry (Chicopee); MANNA Soup Kitchen (Northampton); Massachusetts Military Support Foundation (Agawam); Mental Health Association (Springfield); NAMI Western Massachusetts (Agawam); Neighbors Helping Neighbors (South Hadley); Oasis Food Pantry (Springfield); Open Pantry Community Services (Springfield); Palmer Food Share; Rachel’s Table (Springfield); Reaping the Harvest (Springfield); River Valley Counseling (Holyoke); Root Studio (Turners Falls); Safe Passage (Northampton); Seeds of Solidarity Education Center (Orange); ServiceNet (Northampton); Spring of Hope Church of God in Christ Food Pantry (Springfield); Springfield No One Leaves; Springfield Partners for Community Action; Stone Soup Café (Greenfield); The Salvation Army – Springfield Corps; The Salvation Army – Greenfield Corps; The Salvation Army – Holyoke Corps; Valley Opportunity Council (Chicopee); Victory Temple Church of God in Christ (West Springfield); Wales Community Pantry; Way Finders (Springfield); Wendell Good Neighbors; Western Massachusetts Training Consortium (Holyoke); WestMass Elder Care (Holyoke); Womanshelter Companeras (Holyoke); YWCA of Western Massachusetts (Springfield)