Several East Boston nonprofits that are helping residents or providing assistance to the city or state during this COVID-19 pandemic were recently awarded grant money through the city’s Boston Resiliency Fund.
Last week Mayor Martin Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee announced the distribution of another round of grant funding totaling $1.7 million in funds to support five Eastie organizations and 15 other organizations throughout the city hat provide critical services and support to residents, vulnerable populations, and Boston families whose well-being is most immediately impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Walsh said this round of funding is aimed at providing continued support for community health centers, individuals experiencing homelessness, persons with disabilities, community-based organizations in neighborhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19, and Boston’s Muslim community during Ramadan, which begins this week.
Walsh said organizations doing work in Eastie got top priority because the neighborhood is experiencing higher rates of COVID-19.
In Eastie, the Center for Cooperative Development and Solidarity will offer financial relief for local families in need who are ineligible to receive support from other resources.
The East Boston Community Soup Kitchen will get Resiliency funds to continue distributing grocery gift cards to families in need in the community.
Through the latest round of funding Eastie Farm will work with East Boston Mutual Aid, East Boston Soup Kitchen, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, and Chinese Progressive Association to identify families in need of food. Two local restaurants, Bon Me and Tawakal Halal Cafe, will then prepare and distribute safely prepared meals to families in Eastie and Chinatown.
“Eastie Farm is delighted to be part of an innovative solution that helps ensure food security in East Boston and Chinatown, while supporting our partners Bon Me Restaurant and Tawakal Halal Cafe in sustaining themselves through this economic crisis,” said Kannan Thiruvengadam, director of Eastie Farm. “We thank Bon Me and Tawakal for providing much needed culturally sensitive meals at cost and with utmost attention to the health and safety of all involved, and we thank Mayor Walsh for this generous support for Eastie Farm’s work in resiliency, and for his tireless and diligent leadership during this challenging time.”
Maverick Landing Community Services, in partnership with The Harborside Community Center, Neighbors United for a Better East Boston, and Veronica Robles Cultural Center, will offer food, supplies and financial assistance to Eastie families who do not have access to stimulus dollars, unemployment assistance, or who do not qualify for public benefits.
Finally the Salesian Boys and Girls Club distributes meals from the Club and provides home delivery of breakfast, lunch, hygiene products, and at-home art activities to children and families.
“Through the Boston Resiliency Fund, we are harnessing the generosity of Boston’s residents and businesses and we’re making sure those resources go where they will make the biggest, most immediate impact for our residents,” said Walsh. “I am incredibly proud and thankful for everyone’s generosity as we come together to support one another during these difficult times.”
Since its creation in March, the Boston Resiliency Fund has raised over $26 million from over 4,200 individual donors. The Fund will continue accepting donations from individuals, organizations and philanthropic partners who wish to contribute and offer their support, and 100 percent of donations will be awarded to local organizations, with the majority of future grants to be made through the rest of April and May. Organizations are encouraged to complete a statement of interest to be considered for future grants.
During the first round of funding the East Boston Community Health Center received funding to expand their COVID-19 testing to Eastie clients as well as first responders during a testing event at Suffolk Downs.
Crossroads Family Shelter in Eastie was also a recipient of funds during the first round.
“Crossroads Family Center serves more than 60 families each year in our shelter and stabilization programs,” said Crossroads Director Lauren Antonelli. “Additionally, we serve more than 500 families annually via our community food pantry. Now, more than ever, our services are critical in supporting families during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are extremely grateful to Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston for support from the Boston Resiliency Fund, which will allow us to continue our work.”
Antonelli said funding from the City will help to supplement some of the immediate costs the shelter’s families are facing, as well as provide some relief for the shelter, which is seeing increased operational expenses.
“Funding that will go directly to our clients will be in the form of gift cards to purchase food and essential hygiene supplies,” she said. “We are honored to serve the many families that rely on us every day, but especially now, and we are most grateful for the support of our neighbors in the community and the City of Boston.”