So food pantries can meet the increased requests for assistance, the United Way of North Central Massachusetts has made a $26,000 distribution to 13 local health and human services agencies.
"As we work through this difficult economy, we want to partner with our nonprofit agencies to help as many families as possible," commented Phil Grzewinski, president of United Way of North Central Massachusetts.
United Way of North Central Massachusetts created its Community Support Fund to provide immediate emergency relief to individuals and families in the North Central Massachusetts region.
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 the coming weeks, additional distributions will be made, based on the greatest needs.
"This fund is providing food and other basic needs assistance, and with the increased demand, we are encouraging individuals and businesses to contribute so we can meet local needs during these difficult times," commented Grzewinski.
According to a United Way survey of area non-profit service providers, some local pantries are seeing up to a 60 percent increase in requests for food assistance.
The following agencies received food cards and money to purchase food at the Worcester County Food Bank: Gardner CAC, Battered Women's Resources, Our Father's House, Fitchburg/Leominster Community Action Council, MOC Elder Services, Salvation Army, United Neighbors of Cleghorn, Catholic Charities, Ginny's Helping Hand Food Pantry, Spanish American Center, Loaves and Fishes, Townsend Ecumenical Food Pantry and Winchendon Community Action Council.
Contributions may be made to the fund by calling 978-345-1577, going online at www.uwncm.org, or mailing to United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Attn: Community Support 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 http://www.uwncm.org/ 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.