HNE, Peoplesbank Donate $20,000 to Gardening the Community

SPRINGFIELD — PeoplesBank and Health New England have partnered to donate $20,000 to Gardening the Community (GTC) of Springfield. The money will support the non-profit’s urban garden, farm store, youth leadership program, and other programs.

The companies’ collaborative donation came about as representatives from each were discussing needs in the Springfield community and the non-profit organizations each supports. Both support GTC and, knowing that more than 15% percent of children in Hampden County are food insecure, the two companies agreed to help.

“We believe that this donation from two of our most valued corporate partners is an investment in our organization, economically and spiritually. It is especially appreciated during this time of rising food costs, as we work to bring forth a just food system that works for all,” said Liz O’Gilvie of GTC. “We will use the funds to support our efforts to grow food that’s affordable while we help our young people to understand the inequities in our food. system.”

“PeoplesBank and Health New England are like-minded in our belief that companies have a responsibility to improve the communities in which they do business,” said Matthew Bannister, senior vice president of marketing and corporate responsibility for PeoplesBank. “In working with Health New England as our health plan, we found that we both supported several of the same area non-profits, including Gardening the Community. We decided to demonstrate our partnership with this combined donation.”

“Both Health New England and PeoplesBank know that our companies are part of a larger ecosystem – our community – and when it thrives, we thrive,” said Keith Ledoux, Vice President Commercial Line of Business and Business Development for Health New England. “Together, our support of Gardening the Community will not only fight hunger and promote good health but will bring opportunity to the Mason Square neighborhood.”

Gardening the Community (GTC) grows organic food on formerly empty lots increasing access to healthy food in food-insecure areas. They emphasize youth leadership development, racial justice, and intergenerational relationship building in all their work. GTC serves Springfield’s Mason Square neighborhood, a low income, predominantly Black and Latinx community as well as residents from across the city.