Maverick Landing community service among eight local nonprofits to receive COVID-19 recovery funds – East Boston Times-Free Press

Last week, the Latino Equity Fund (LEF) today announced $200,000 in grants to eight Latino-focused organizations as part of the LEF COVID-19 Response Fund in partnership with the Boston Foundation.

Maverick Landing Community Services (MLCS) and the seven other nonprofits will each receive $25,000 to provide enhanced services to help Latin American communities recover from the strains caused by COVID-19 and the economic challenges to longer term than the pandemic has unleashed.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 until today, Maverick Landing Community Services (MLCS) has distributed 83,000 bags of produce weighing a total of 750,000 pounds to food insecure families in Eastie. Last week, MLCS received a COVID-19 recovery grant to continue its work in the neighborhood.

“LEF’s fundraising is a true testament to our commitment to act in response to data and advance recovery for many of our community leaders who are still balancing the effects of COVID on their operations,” said Evelyn Barahona, Director of the Latino Equity Fund. “We have selected organizations whose leadership and standing in the community are essential to advancing the economic prosperity, health equity and well-being of Latinos in Massachusetts.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, MLCS has responded to emerging pandemic-related needs at the intersection of food, housing, trauma, workforce, and education.

MLCS Director Rita Lara said that since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 until today, MLCS has distributed 83,000 bags of produce weighing a total of 750,000 pounds to families in dire straits. food insecurity in Eastie.

“Then, from July 2021 through today, together with our partners at the Housing Support Coalition, we have helped more than 138 families in East Boston stay in their homes by accessing nearly $570,000 in assistance. to RAFT and ERAP housing for them,” Lara said. “And since 2021, we have worked with Mutual Aid Eastie, the Transformational Prison Project, the Neighborhood Trauma Team, and the East Boston Community Soup Kitchen to support bimonthly Restorative Justice Circles promoting wellness, healing, and community connections for residents of East Boston.

Lara said the EWL grant will continue to support these services as well as other life-saving programs.

“The grant will help support other programs such as our trauma-informed Spanish and English digital literacy, ensuring digital access for all and learning support for children in our makerspace and education programs. STEM,” Lara said.

The grant announcement comes as the new report, ¡Avancemos Ya!: Persistent Economic Challenges and Opportunities Facing Latinos in Massachusetts was released by LEF in partnership with Boston Indicators and the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy in UMassBoston.

The report highlighted opportunities to improve economic conditions among Latin American communities in Massachusetts. The report traces the historical and demographic roots of the state’s unique Latino communities and outlines six trends that have shaped the current situation of Latinos in the state and that may serve as pathways for future opportunity.

The pandemic has exacerbated longstanding challenges facing Latinos. Today, for example, a quarter or more of Massachusetts’ 800,000 Latinos struggle with food insecurity, and data shows that Massachusetts Latinos have low rates of intergenerational economic mobility. Yet the report also sheds light on how the economic rebound from the 2020 recession offers opportunities for improving socio-economic conditions.

“These grants address a number of issues highlighted in ¡Avancemos Ya!, as part of LEF’s broader strategy to work with our nonprofit partners to provide greater equity for Latinos,” said said Juan Fernando Lopera, EWL co-president. “At a time when Massachusetts faces an exceptional need for workers, empowering our talented, entrepreneurial, and fast-growing Latin American communities to meet this need is a critical step that benefits everyone in the state. “

LEF co-founder and co-chair Aixa Beauchamp said the fund is committed to deepening its community investments that provide culturally sensitive and timely grants.

“Through responsive and innovative initiatives, we can create a community and philanthropic network for diverse donors to connect and learn,” said Beauchamp. “We will continue to support Latin American and BIPOC communities through this public health and economic crisis to see a brighter future.”

Jill E. Washington