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HNE Gives Food Bank $30,000 to Support Puerto Rican Evacuees

HATFIELD — The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts announced it has received a $30,000 grant award from Health New England to support Puerto Rican evacuees settling in Western Mass. following Hurricane Maria. The Food Bank has been collaborating with community organizations throughout the region to provide evacuees with their most basic need: food.

The grant award will fund the food needs of the two designated welcome centers with the greatest influx of new people: Springfield Family Resource Center and Enlace de Familias Resource Center of Holyoke.

“We are very grateful for Health New England’s support in providing us this valuable grant,” explained Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank. “As we face these unprecedented challenges, we are reminded that it is going to take all of us, working together, to strengthen our community. It is through these partnerships that we are able to feed our neighbors in need.”

Since evacuees began arriving in Western Mass. last October, the Food Bank has been working with these local organizations to ensure everyone has access to healthy food. It has been making weekly deliveries to Enlace de Familias to provide food for approximately 125 families per week. The provisions of canned fruit and vegetables, soup, rice, beans, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, and other staples afford families nourishment as they get themselves settled. The Food Bank has also been delivering food weekly to the Springfield Family Resource Center. Additionally, its agency-relations team has been connecting families with other local partner feeding programs so they can continue to access healthy food, and SNAP coordinators have been on site in Holyoke, enrolling evacuees to receive federal SNAP food benefits.

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