Lowell, MA — A total of $8,780 was awarded to New England Dairy & Food Council by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation this year as part of the 2019 Help Alleviate Hunger and Homelessness in Massachusetts Grant. The funds awarded were used to support a food pantry, the Billerica Public Schools Food Market, which is one of nine school-based pantries in high-need areas of eastern Massachusetts receiving monthly food donations from Greater Boston Food Bank.
The Billerica Public Schools (BPS) Food Market, which began in September of 2015, is held monthly at Marshall Middle School between September and June and is set up like a farmer’s market. Donated food items are distributed by school district staff and student volunteers to members of the community who are in need.
With the funds awarded by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, New England Dairy & Food Council was able to provide the Billerica School Nutrition Department with the ability to purchase crates to hold food items (previously held in cardboard boxes) as well as shopping carts for BPS Food Market users. In addition to increasing efficiency of food distribution, the new equipment will enhance the shopping experience for the 450 families that are served by the market each month, from September through June. New crates have also made it easier to deliver 85-100 monthly food allotments to Billerica’s Council on Aging and Housing Authority.
“The new crates and shopping carts make our volunteer work easier and improve the customer experience of shopping at BPS Food Market. We want out community to not only benefit from this opportunity but to enjoy coming here each month, we think that’s really important.” Said April Laskey, Director of School Nutrition of Billerica Public Schools.
“We hope that enhancing efficiency and facilitating ease of transportation and delivery will mean more individuals and their families get the food they need from the market.” Said Lisa Robinson, Vice President of Health & Wellness at New England Dairy & Food Council.
Robinson applied for the grant offered by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation in February of this year. It was awarded in March, and Billerica purchased their new equipment in the beginning of April.
About New England Dairy & Food Council
New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) is a registered 501©3 non-profit organization staffed by registered dietitians. NEDFC has built a legacy of supporting healthy kids and student academic success through science-based nutrition education resources and wellness interventions. Our primary youth wellness initiative, Fuel Up to Play 60, combines healthy eating with physical activity and student leadership to provide a comprehensive program schools can use to make sustainable healthy changes to their wellness environment. NEDFC is a state and regional affiliate of the National Dairy Council® (NDC).
About Greater Lowell Community Foundation
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization comprised of over 350 funds, currently totaling over $35MM, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life in 20 neighboring cities and towns. The Community Foundation annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students, and is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from its staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $15 million to the Greater Lowell Community since 1999.