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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $1.6 Million MassWorks Grant to Support Relocation of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

Baker-Polito Administration Announces
$1.6 Million MassWorks Grant to Support Relocation of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

CHICOPEE – Wednesday, February 16, 2022 – Today, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy was joined by Mayor John Vieau, Senator Eric Lesser, Representative Joseph Wagner, and Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, to celebrate a $1.62 million award through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to support the relocation of the Food Bank’s headquarters and distribution center to the city of Chicopee.
 
As the leading hunger-relief organization serving the four counties of Western Massachusetts, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ new location will offer: an emergency food hub, an emergency shelter for Chicopee residents, highway access for distribution of emergency food to FBWM’s network of more than 170 local members (independent food pantries, meal sites, and shelters), and its own 77 direct-to-household distribution sites; and space for more staff, visitors, community events, and on-site public programs.   
 
The MassWorks grant will fund improved community access to the future headquarters through a new access road, traffic signal, streetscape improvements to East Main Street, and parking adjacent to the facility. East Main Street will also be resurfaced in order to accommodate additional truck traffic. 
 
“The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts plays a vital role in supporting families in need,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Thanks to the MassWorks program, the organization can advance its plans for expansion and ensure it can continue supporting households throughout the region well into the future.”
 
“We are pleased to partner with the city of Chicopee and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to provide support for what will result in a significant upgrade to the Food Bank’s operations,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.  “Especially now, the need for food security is of the utmost importance and this grant will support the Food Bank’s mission over the long term.” 
 
MassWorks is a competitive program that offers cities and towns flexible capital funding to support and accelerate housing production and job growth. MassWorks is the largest program in Community One Stop for Growth, a single application portal and collaborative review process for grant programs launched in January 2021 to make targeted investments based on a development continuum.
 
“We created the One Stop to offer access to a wide variety of programs through a single, streamlined process that ensures that valuable funds can be directed more effectively, to more communities, in less time,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “The One Stop gives communities and other partners the opportunity to work collaboratively with us, to pursue multiple projects simultaneously and to meet their economic development goals. The city of Chicopee and the Food Bank have demonstrated how applicants can be creative with grant funding to maximize the impact of state investments in transformative projects. While the first year of the One Stop has shown tremendous promise, the demand for our programs demonstrates that we can do more.”

With the addition of this most recent round, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded 326 MassWorks grants to 181 communities and has invested over $608 million in public infrastructure projects throughout the Commonwealth. These grants have directly supported the creation of 21,000 new housing units and tens of thousands of new construction and permanent jobs, while also leveraging over $13 billion in private investment. 

Including MassWorks grants, the Community One Stop for Growth program awarded $88 million for 196 projects in 122 communities across the Commonwealth in its first year.  Of the 196 projects awarded, nearly one-third were located in a rural or small town, half were located in a Housing Choice Community, and one-third were located in a Gateway City.
 
“We are so pleased to have the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts here in Chicopee and that simply would not be possible without the Community One Stop for Growth and the MassWorks Infrastructure Program,” said Mayor John Vieau. “This project will have a significant impact on food insecurity in Chicopee and our surrounding communities. We look forward to the good that will come from this project.”
 
“I am pleased to join the Food Bank of Western Mass and the City of Chicopee in welcoming this MassWorks Infrastructure funding for wraparound construction at the new food bank headquarters,” said Senator Eric Lesser. “As the central facilitator for 251 food distribution sites, it’s important that the Food Bank has the resources they need to get food to people’s hands throughout the region from a central point. This project will create construction jobs, permanent positions at the new facility, and will serve as a community flagship while we continue the work to create an economy where people aren’t hungry and don’t have the need for this type of assistance.”
 
"The Food Bank is a critical resource for so many residents in our region and that need has only grown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator John Velis.  “The new facility in Chicopee will allow the Bank to expand its reach and serve even more individuals in our communities and this MassWorks Grant is a critical step towards making this project a reality."
 
"It was wonderful to see that the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts received generous funding through the MassWorks Grant program," said Senator Adam Gomez. "The new planned headquarters and distribution center, based in Chicopee, will allow the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to help so many more families and individuals in the region. Food support programs, like the FBWM, have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that everyone who needed help was reached. The FBWM couldn’t be more deserving of this funding. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish next!”
 
“The Baker-Polito Administration, through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, continues to make significant capital investment in projects across the Commonwealth that increase housing, spur development and create jobs,” said Representative Joseph Wagner. “I am pleased by the continued investment in the city of Chicopee and the greater region with this latest $1.6 million grant for the relocation of Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ headquarters.” 
 
“It’s a proud day for Chicopee and the lower Pioneer Valley when investments are made in the construction of a new distribution center for The Food Bank of Western Mass,” said Representative Jake Oliveira.  “The projected is a perfect example of collaboration and investments made by governmental agencies, non-profits, and the business community to construct a state-of-the-art center that will fight food insecurity in our region.  Thank you to MassWork for funding this award.”

“On behalf of The Food Bank and the tens of thousands of people at risk of hunger who experience food insecurity every week, I am humbled by the tremendous partnership we’ve forged with the city of Chicopee, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, our local legislators, and individual and business donors, together, to build the region’s future clearinghouse of healthy food assistance to ensure food security for all,” said Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank executive director.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts previously benefitted from a $5 million appropriation in the COVID-19 relief spending bill signed by Governor Baker in December 2021.
 
Learn more about the most recent round of MassWorks and One Stop awards.
  

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