HCN News & Notes

Gray House Seeks Help to Fill the Plate for Neighbors in Need

SPRINGFIELD — The Gray House, a nonprofit organization in the North End of Springfield, is kicking off its second annual Fill the Plate Challenge, an online fund-raising initiative running throughout September.

The organization has set a goal of $15,000 for the month of September and is asking the community to help it reach this goal. All proceeds will directly support its food-pantry operations, which serve an average of 80 to 120 households each week. In 2015, the Gray House served over 8,000 people in the community.

Participants are asked to make a donation through razoo.com/fill-the-plate-challenge, post a photo of themselves with an empty plate and a link to the donation page on social media, and tag the Gray House and any friends they want to encourage to donate. In addition to raising money, the goal of the fund-raiser is to raise awareness of the prevalence of food insecurity in the community.

“The empty plate represents all of those neighbors who would go hungry without groceries from our food pantry. We encourage donors to post photos on social media and share with their networks so that we can reach an even greater number of people,” said Teresa Spaziani, executive director of the Gray House. “Monetary donations to our food pantry go a long way in feeding our neighbors. As a member of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, we are able to purchase food for a significantly reduced price. For example, we can often purchase 90 pounds of meat for only $3.”

In 2015, the Gray House challenged the community to help it raise $10,000 in order to be eligible for a $10,000 matching grant through the United Way of Pioneer Valley. This goal was exceeded, with more than $12,600 raised in addition to the $10,000 matching grant.

Earlier that year, the Gray House entered into a partnership with Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry of Chicopee.

“The partnership enables us to share staffing and resources such as storage and delivery transportation, allowing us to operate as efficiently as possible while serving even more neighbors than ever before,” said Spaziani.

The food pantry remains a program of the Gray House, and, therefore, all donations stay at the Gray House.

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