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United Way accepting applications for food insecurity grants

CAMBRRIDGE, Ohio — The United Way of Guernsey, Monroe and Noble Counties will soon begin accepting grant applications that will help fund local food pantries and other programs working to combat food insecurity.

The United Way is utilizing a recent $25,000 donation from Southwestern Energy to provide grants to numerous local food pantries, produce markets, Meals on Wheels, soup kitchens and other food outreach programs that are located in all three counties. Marynell Townsend, executive director of United Way of Guernsey, Monroe, and Noble Counties, said any food insecurity program may apply for up to $2,500 in grant funding.

“Any organization who has a food outreach to low-income individuals and families can apply,” she said.

Townsend said the grant funding can be used to cover the cost of equipment, food supplies or other needs that support their ability to sustain or increase success in fighting food insecurity in the organization’s county of service.

“Whatever they identify as a need that’s going to help sustain their ability to continue offering services, whether it’s to maintain or increase services,” she said.

There are approximately 20 eligible programs in the three counties that could apply for grants, Townsend said — 10 in Guernsey, five in Monroe and four in Noble. However, those are the ones the United Way has on its current list. Additional programs could be eligible, she said.

“Every organization that is working on food insecurity, we want everyone to have the opportunity to apply for these funds,” she said. “We hope to be able to identify every single organization so we can get the word out to let them know these funds are available.”

Townsend said they plan to reach out to new providers to let them know of the funding opportunity.

Interested organizations can contact the UWGMNC through guernsey.monroe.noble@unitedwayohio.org to receive an application. The first round of applications will be accepted May 17 through June 14. Townsend said the applications will be reviewed by a committee of stakeholders, corporate partners and United Way leadership. The funding recipients will be announced soon after the application closing. A second round of applications will be announced in the fall.

Townsend said they are anticipating to receive requests for various amounts of funding, depending on what the program or organization is in need of.

She said they will not limit the amount of awards provided in the first round.

“We won’t split up the funding for each round. If we end up with 10 applicants for the full $2,500 grants and if the committee feels those are the awards that we want to do, we will award the funds,” she said.

According to a release, Southwestern Energy opted to donate the funding to the local United Way because it wanted to help contribute to the needs of those in the community.

“We want our neighbors and employees to feel the strength of our commitment to the communities where we are privileged to live and work,” Amy Dobkin, community relations manager for Southwestern Energy, stated. “Supporting needs of organizations focused on lifting others up and being of service is a top priority for our teams. We are grateful to partner with United Way of Guernsey, Monroe, and Noble Counties in this effort.”

Townsend said she is also grateful for the partnership with Southwestern energy for this important program.

“We are really excited for this partnership. This is our first project to work with them (Southwestern Energy), but I know they have worked on other community projects already.

“I think they really care about the area and the community,” she said.

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