Food insecurity is pervasive with Bristol County reporting the highest percentage of food insecure individuals among the commonwealth’s 14 counties (Saint Anne’s Hospital CHNA, 2022). With September designated as Hunger Action Month, an annual nationwide awareness campaign, United Way of Greater Fall River (UWGFR) with sponsors BayCoast Bank and Mechanics Cooperative Bank have partnered to provide $80,000 in funding to 23 local food pantries, shelters, and outreach programs that provide nutritional options for clientele in the Assonet, Fall River, Little Compton, Somerset, Swansea, Tiverton, and Westport communities.
As an increased number of individuals are skipping meals or choosing between buying food and paying bills, funding becomes essential in expanding access to this fundamental resource, especially since one in three Massachusetts residents describes themselves as food insecure (Shenoy, 2023). UWGFR food grant funding targets this crisis and helps chip away at the growing need thus enabling individuals to be successful in other aspects of their lives.
One grantee underscores this assertion sharing that “Families who have benefitted from basic needs support have often expressed that it enabled them to take the next step towards improving their circumstances. One example of this is a client who was in need of housing. She declined a couple of available apartments before confiding to staff that she couldn’t afford to pay the security deposit and still have money for food and utilities that month. Through generous donor support, we were able to help her secure the stable housing for her family and keep food on their table.” This testimonial highlights the financial dilemma facing many individuals who are food insecure.
UWGFR will gather all 2023-2024 grantees, elected officials, and community leaders together at the end of September to acknowledge the impact of local food distribution programs, celebrate the effort, and informally convene on how to activate further collaboration.
“Food insecurity is a significant issue in our local community, and we are proud to partner with the United Way of Greater Fall River Food Grant program” said Jim Wallace, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for BayCoast Bank. “Access to a nutritious, balanced, and affordable diet is vital to health and wellness and helps local children and families build stronger futures. I’d like to thank the United Way Greater Fall River Food Grant program for the amazing work they do, and the huge impact they have on our community.”
Food insecurity is a challenge that requires collective community efforts with funding being the main driver to granting greater access. To donate to the UWGFR Annual Campaign and support future initiatives, please visit the UWGFR website, https://uwgfr.org/, and follow us on social media for community updates at @UnitedWayGFR.