The Natick Service Council received a total of $60,000 in grants this week from the Foundation for MetroWest and the MetroWest Health Foundation, according to the council.
The MetroWest Health Foundation gave $50,000 to support the planned launch of the council's Heart Healthy Food Pantry, a program designed to significantly increase the amount of heart-healthy foods distributed to clients through the council's Vi Tutuny Food Pantry.
The grant will help the council identify and distribute foods than can reduce three key risk factors contributing to chronic heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and excessive weight.
Over a two-year period, the heart-healthy foods program will considerably increase the percentage of heart healthy foods distributed to Natick Service Council clients, the organization said. The council hopes to replicate it among other regional and national food pantries, they said.
In the past year, food pantry visits were up 6 percent in Natick. The organization has served 5,357 people at food pantries this past year, they said.
The Natick organization also received $10,000 from the Foundation for MetroWest to support its case management program, which is the gateway to all Natick Service Council programs and services for Natick residents who are economically disadvantaged or facing a temporary crisis, according to the organization.
Natick case managers recommend programs and services tailored to address the specific needs of each client as they work toward self-sufficiency. The case managers currently serve over 700 local families, and case management has increased 7 percent over the past year, according to the organization.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org