To meet the increased demand for utility and food assistances, United Way of North Central Massachusetts has made a $55,000 distribution to 15 local health and human services agencies.

“The goal is to get resources to the frontline agencies as quickly as possible,  so we can reach as many families as possible, ” commented Phil Grzewinski, president of United Way of North Central Massachusetts.

United Way of North Central Massachusetts created its Supplemental Basic Needs 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 addition to providing much needed food assistance,  the goal is to help those who will struggle to keep warm this winter,” commented Grzewinski. According to a United Way survey of area non-profit service providers, some local agencies are seeing up to an 80 percent increase in requests for 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, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Catholic Charities, Ginny’s Helping Hand Food Pantry, Spanish American Center, Loaves and Fishes, Gardner VNA Community Services Pantry, Townsend Ecumenical Food Pantry and Winchendon Community Action Council.

New England Farm Workers’ Council received $25,000, which will be used for heating assistance.

Contributions may be made to the fund by calling 978-345-1577, going  online at, or mailing to United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Attn: Supplemental Basic Needs 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. The Mass 2-1-1 hotline is prepared to connect callers with help for basic needs and other health and human services.