SPRINGFIELD — Health New England (HNE) awarded $400,000 in grants to help three nonprofit organizations improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in Western Mass.
The grants, made via HNE’s Where Health Matters grant program, will allow Wellspring Cooperative’s GoFresh Mobile Farmers’ Market, Girls on the Run of Western Massachusetts, and the Care Center’s Roqué House Program to expand needed programs focusing on food, girls’ health, and supporting mothers seeking college educations, respectively.
“Health New England has a responsibility to help lift our communities, especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing unprecedented challenges to those with fewer resources than most,” said Richard Swift, president and CEO of Health New England. “The recipients of this year’s Where Health Matters grants serve these populations in creative and effective ways, and we are proud to support the work they do.”
The Wellspring Cooperative’s GoFresh Mobile Farmers’ Market aggregates fresh local produce and delivers it through pop-up markets at low-income housing sites, senior centers, health clinics, and community organizations. The three-year, $150,000 grant will enable Wellspring to double the number of people it provides access to fresh, healthy, local foods; enact a pilot program to expand the GoFresh farmers market throughout winter (the current program operates from May to October), providing year-round access to health foods; partner with local health clinics to establish a food-referral program that meets the needs of patients with chronic conditions through education and access to healthy foods; and continue to support minority and immigrant farmers via the Wellspring Harvest greenhouse program in the Indian Orchard neighborhood.
Girls on the Run of Western Massachusetts helps girls develop essential social, emotional, and physical skills to successfully navigate life experiences and prepares them physically and mentally to participate in a celebratory 5K run. The two-year, $100,000 grant will enable the organization to double the number of chapters of the popular program and expand into Holyoke and Chicopee.
The Care Center’s Roqué House Program provides stable housing for young parents, primarily women of color, working toward a college degree, as well as their children. The three-year, $150,000 grant will fund an artist in residence and counselor for families who live in Roqué House.
Health New England’s Where Health Matters grant program, now in its fourth year, has invested $1.2 million in nonprofits in Western and Central Mass. Health New England also partners with each awardee via volunteering and advising to help them thrive.