As the state and local municipalities continue to reduce funding for human services programs due to ongoing fiscal challenges, the Hartford Foundation is awarding grants totaling $550,000 to 68 nonprofit agencies that provide food and other basic human needs to residents throughout Greater Hartford.
Basic Human Needs grants support both regional and local agencies in Avon, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Enfield, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, Vernon, West Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor. Grants range between $2,500 and $18,000 and are primarily funded through the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation. The size of each grant was determined by the type and scope of the program. The majority of the grants —more than $300,000—were awarded to agencies for use in food programs to support current needs as well as food services during the upcoming holidays. Other services supported by the grants include emergency housing, fuel assistance, medical and dental services, employment counseling, clothing and other personal care items.
Here are two examples of the types of programs providing vital services to residents through the region.
For the past 50 years, the Windsor Food and Fuel Bank has worked to ensure that no Windsor resident goes hungry, is cold, or is without basic necessities. The work of the Windsor Food and Fuel banks has received extensive support from local organizations which have held a wide variety of food drives and fundraisers to support its mission of not only providing food and home heating services. But a host of other needs exist, including access to bus passes to get to job interviews, gift cards to local stores to purchase clothing for job interviews, or emergency funds when a family faces a short-term financial crisis and they can't cover their rent in a given month. This year, Windsor Food and Fuel Bank is receiving a $4,500 Basic Human Needs Grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to support its work.
"The mission of the Windsor Food and Fuel Bank has been embraced by local residents and community organizations who recognize the vital role it plays in assisting family, friends and neighbors who at various times may struggle with meeting some of their basic needs such as having enough food to feed their kids or enough fuel to keep their house warm," said Ernest Perreault, president of the Windsor Food and Fuel Bank's Board of Directors. "We have also been fortunate to receive the continued support from local philanthropic organizations like the Hartford Foundation, which make it possible to fill some of the gaps that may arise during the course of the year."
Since 1982, Enfield Loaves and Fishes has been serving thousands of meals to individuals and families in Enfield. With the dedicated support of community volunteers, healthy, balanced dinners are provided every day of the week including weekends. In 2016 Loaves and Fishes served over 128,000 meals and over 108,000 snacks for children. Of the thousands of meals served, about 45% of meals go to children in the soup kitchen and after school programs, with nearly 43,000 meals provided for home consumption in emergency situations. In addition Enfield Loaves and Fishes hosts special meals and activities including holiday celebrations, free flu shot clinics and free haircuts to assist local residents. In recognition of its efforts, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has awarded Loaves and Fishes a $9,500 Basic Human Needs Grant.
"This grant from the Hartford Foundation will help to relieve Loaves and Fishes' concerns about being able to meet the increased needs of our guests who often rely on our soup kitchen for their only meal on a given day," said Priscilla Brayson, director of Enfield Loaves and Fishes. "This grant helps to ensure that our organization can plan and continue to provide our services to anyone who comes to us."
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrated ninety years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $680 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.