LANESBOROUGH -- As the hub of the emergency food network in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts works with 350 independent member agencies that serve on the front lines of the fight to end hunger. Together with these agencies, The Food Bank provides food to more than 110,000 individuals facing hunger in our community. Earlier this month, The Food Bank began issuing grants to many of these agencies to bolster their ability to efficiently distribute food and increase their capacity to store food and serve clients.
In 2010, The Food Bank launched a new approach to working with agencies in the local emergency food network. The Network Capacity Building (NCB) program seeks to integrate and enhance emergency food services in Western Massachusetts by working toward comprehensive and long-term solutions to hunger. Through the NCB program, The Food Bank aims to strengthen the emergency food network throughout the four counties of Western Mass., and help agencies more effectively carry out their missions.
Nineteen agencies throughout the four counties were awarded a total of $50,000 grants through the NCB program, with an average award of $2,631.58.
Four agencies received the maximum award of $5,000 including the Lanesborough Veteran’s Food Pantry, the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services Food Pantry, Open Pantry, and the Springfield Rescue Mission.
With these awards, agencies will address specific capacity issues at their facilities that currently limit the efficient distribution of food. With the funds awarded, most agencies plan to purchase freezers and refrigerators that will enable them to store and distribute perishable foods.