Family-to-Family has joined forces with South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Corp. (SWNIC) to provide groceries (and a few friendly words of support) every month to Worcester families in need through its flagship “Sponsor A Family” program. The program links donor families with “more” to families with less, in a direct, hands-on way, with donors providing “their” family with groceries for at least 7 dinner type meals every month.
The alliance couldn’t have come at a better time. “Working families in Worcester are having a hard time paying rent and buying food,” says Ron Charette, Executive Director of South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Corp. “The average cost in Worcester for rent, food and utilities equates to making $25 per hour. Most families living in this community make less than $11 per hour.”
As Worcester’s local coordinator for Family-to-Family, Charette and the SWNIC will identify families in need, and Family-to-Family will match them with sponsors from across the country. Sponsors donate $35 to Family-to-Family every month, and those donated funds are used to provide families in need with a monthly box of groceries. Sponsors may also shop for and ship non-food items (like toothbrushes or school supplies), to “their” family, along with a monthly letter. Groceries and shipped packages are delivered to recipient families the third week of every month, just when money and SNAP benefits often run out.
The program will launch on April 25 at 11am at the South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Corp, when ten Worcester families will arrive to pick up the grocery boxes provided by their sponsors and bottles of 100% grape juice donated by Welch’s. At the event, each recipient family will receive information about the family sponsoring them, and be given the opportunity to sit down to write a letter to that family, sharing with them a little of their own personal story.
“Family-to-Family, with the support of Welch’s, is proud to bring our organization to the Worcester community,” says Pam Koner, Executive Director of Family-to-Family. “In fact, Welch's support and partnership is helping us to expand our efforts and reach families across all 50 states.”
“Welch’s shares Family-to-Family’s belief in the importance of family moments and connecting over a meal,” comments Karen Mitchell, Director of Marketing at Welch’s. “We’re thrilled to be partners with Family-to-Family and help extend their terrific work to more communities.”
In addition to its flagship “Sponsor A Family” program, Family-to-Family’s “DoorKnob Dinner Project” is also slated to serve Worcester. Through DoorKnob Dinners, participating community members will bring a monthly bag filled with groceries for one family’s dinner to Worcester churches and other drop-off locations. Organizers will bring the bags to a local food pantry. A third Family-to-Family program, “One Can At A Time,” an in-school monthly food drive, was launched in January at Worcester’s Canterbury Street School.
All three efforts are intended to ease food insecurity for Worcester families in a reliable, ongoing way throughout the year.
Family-to-Family was started nine years ago by Hastings-on-Hudson, New York mom and entrepreneur Koner, who was heartsick after reading a newspaper article about the impoverished community of Pembroke, Illinois, one of the poorest towns in the nation. “We have to do something,” Koner told her two daughters. She convinced 16 neighbors to join her in buying and sending groceries to 17 needy Pembroke families. Since then, Family-to-Family has expanded to over 400 donating families who provide food and friendship to hungry families in 21 communities across the United States.
Family-to-Family, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit 501c3 hunger and poverty relief organization dedicated to providing food, personal hygiene products and other basic life essentials to American families struggling with the challenges of poverty. By connecting donors one-to-one with specific families in need, Family-to-Family brings a large and seemingly intractable problem – poverty – into personal focus, making proactive, attainable results possible…one family at a time.
The South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Corporation has been contributing social services in South Worcester since its founding in 1969. It is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) Corporation serving the South Worcester community.
The goal of SWNIC is the personal advancement of every individual and every family in South Worcester. Its role is to provide a hand-up, not a hand-out, by facilitating access to housing, employment opportunities, health services, and education.
About Welch’sHeadquartered in Concord, Massachusetts, Welch’s is the processing and marketing subsidiary of the National Grape Cooperative. Welch’s is owned by 1,000 family farmers across America and in Ontario, Canada, who make up this cooperative and who grow the delicious and inherently healthy Concord grapes used in Welch’s juices and other grape-based products. Welch’s is committed to research and development that will meet the growing demand for products that address consumers’ health and nutrition needs. Welch’s products are sold throughout the United States and in approximately 40 countries around the globe. Welch’s is an Equal Opportunity Employer – Minorities/Female/Disabled/Veterans.