Neighbors for Neighbors Fund Grantee Spotlight
Thank you to all the donors who have given to the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund since March, when it was established to respond to immediate needs and longer-term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s Next for the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund?
The first round of Neighbors for Neighbors Fund grants put more than $473,000 out into the community to meet basic needs, shore up the income security of residents, keep our children’s learning moving forward amid school and summer camp closures, and ensure that people working in our nonprofits, schools and other workplaces are safe. We launched our second round of RFPs to the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund in September.
Below are some of our incredible nonprofit partners who have been addressing food insecurity, housing, healthcare, shelter, childcare and other supports to ensure the stability and well-being of our region’s residents.
Immigration Advocacy and Support Center (IASC) assists immigrants from all countries by providing low cost, high quality immigration-related legal services. IASC received a NFN Fund grant to help cover the fees associated with the various steps towards citizenship. IASC Board Member Kathy Parker reported that not only were they able to assist 23 individuals but this grant has proven that removing the financial barriers along the path to citizenship is a key strategy in their work.
Faced with a significant increase in residents feeling the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army in Willimantic has been inundated with requests for assistance. As a result, it is using its NFN Fund grant to hire a case worker to provide support for those in need of food, hygiene items, help with rent and utilities, and referrals. With the moratorium on evictions being lifted and enhanced unemployment benefits ending, The Salvation Army’s new Corps Officer Capt. Carmen Colon anticipates that the need for this assistance will only continue to grow.
With 54% of Norwich residents living below or near the poverty guidelines, Norwich Human Services (NHS) has long seen inequity and lack of opportunity at work. The COVID-19 pandemic just magnified the need for flexible funds that allow NHS to meet people where they are, to access all existing resources, and to then fill in the gaps with housing, transportation, food and other necessities. NHS Director, Lee-Ann Gomes says, “We serve multitudes of diverse people with a compassionate, holistic view. Yes, we need to meet those tangible basic needs but we also care deeply about an individual’s or family’s overall well-being as they move toward financial recovery."
As the community action agency for Windham and Tolland Counties, Access believes that communities and organizations that work together can create positive changes that enable people to meet their basic needs. The pandemic has brought the issue of food insecurity to the forefront and highlighted the longer term implications and improvements needed to support the food delivery system. Access Senior Director Kathleen Krider observed that, "As a direct result of the Neighbors for Neighbors Fund grant, we are better able to work with a wide range of partners to locate and serve COVID-19 impacted individuals, families and communities. We are building greater capacity to receive food, track it through proper inventory and distribute to partners in the region so they can get it to the people who need it."