11 Ways to Give Back this 9/11

    1) Register for Volunteer SouthCoast
    Go to www.volunteersouthcoast.org and simply register yourself for the site. From there you will have access to hundreds of volunteer activities across the SouthCoast. You can search by your location, interests, or availability to find the right opportunity for you!

    Need help with the site? Click here to check out our online tutorials.

    2) Host a Food Drive or Donate Food Items
    Organize your friends, family, neighborhood, or school group and collect food items for others in our community. Completed drives can be dropped at United Way OR if it is a large drive, we can arrange to pick it up. You can shop right off our Amazon Wish List and have it sent to our office by clicking here. Contact Victoria for more info – 508-994-9625 ext. 210 or vgrasela@unitedwayofgnb.org

    3) Support Veterans’ Mental Health
    Many active service members and veterans suffer mental health issues. Learn more about the services available to them and post those resources on your social media to spread the word.

    4) Donate Blood
    There is a national blood shortage happening right now. YOU can save a life by donating blood. Click here to schedule an appointment.

    5) Host a neighborhood cleanup or help a neighbor with some yard work
    Show some neighborhood pride with a cleanup – whether it is picking up trash along the side of the road or by mowing your neighbor’s lawn while you are out doing your own!

    6) Host a Baby Drive or donate baby items for new moms
    Organize your friends, family, neighborhood, or school group and collect baby items to be included in Baby Bundles for new moms our community. Completed drives can be dropped at United Way OR if it is a large drive, we can arrange to pick it up.  Learn more & visit our registry by clicking here. Contact Victoria for more info – 508-994-9625 ext. 210 or vgrasela@unitedwayofgnb.org

    7) Thank a first responder
    Say thank you to local first responders including police, fire fighters, EMTs, doctors & nurses!

    8) Show you care and your support
    Send a card to a local veteran or an active service member to let them know you care and are thinking of them. Send to a local Veteran: https://www.vetshouse.org/  Send to an active duty member https://supportourtroops.org/cards-letters

    9) Register to Vote
    Make your voice heard by registering to vote! If you are 18 or older you can register to vote in the next election by going to https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/ and filling out the registration form. Are you at least 16 years old? You can now pre-register to vote! Use the same web address as above.

    10) Thank a teacher
    Send a few extra schools supplies for the classroom with your kids this school year. Teachers can always use the extra supplies!

    11) Go the extra mile for someone you love
    Surprise a loved one by making breakfast of with an afternoon coffee!

    Inspire others to give back by sharing your good deeds using #911dayofcaring

    Learn more about 9/11 Day organization at www.911day.org

    United Way of Greater New Bedford’s Mobile Market is launching its seventh season this month – providing free, locally grown, fresh produce for low-income working families in Greater New Bedford.

    The Mobile Market’s primary focus is to remove the barriers that families often face when accessing fresh produce. By offering free produce after traditional work hours, families are given access to fruits, vegetables, eggs, and other produce they might not otherwise be able to obtain due to financial restraints or the hours traditional food pantries are open.

    “Mobile Market has been a great resource in our community since it began, providing so many with valuable, healthy produce they may not be able to get otherwise” said Victoria Grasela, VP of Marketing & Community Engagement. “We’re not only feeding those in need, but also providing access to healthier options to improve the overall health and wellness of residents we serve.”

    Markets will begin on July 20th in Wareham and July 22nd in New Bedford. Those in need can get produce from 5:30-7pm or until all food is distributed. Markets are on a first come first served basis. Markets will be at Wareham Middle School located at 4 Viking Drive on Tuesday evenings and will alternate between BankFive locations the north end (1724 Acushnet Ave.) and south end (160 County St.) of New Bedford on Thursday nights. For the full schedule, visit unitedwayofgnb.org/mobile-market.

    The fresh produce distributed is grown locally by Sharing the Harvest Community Farm at the YMCA Southcoast Dartmouth. Mobile Market New Bedford is sponsored by BankFive and Mobile Market Wareham is sponsored by Southcoast Health – both of whose employees also volunteer at many of the Mobile Markets throughout the season. Additionally, Southcoast Health will have its Mobile Health Van on sites in August and September to provide COVID-19 vaccines to those who still need them.

    Qualifying families and individuals are invited to visit the Mobile Market every other week. Pre-registration is encouraged electronically in order to cut down on wait times and reduce the spread of germs, however, registration may also be done on site. Pre-registration does NOT guarantee produce, we serve on a first come, first served basis. Anyone not vaccinated is required to wear a mask.

    Families and individuals who are able to visit a food pantry during traditional hours are encouraged to do so – pantries distribute fresh produce from Sharing the Harvest in addition to bread, meat, dairy, and other food items.

    To learn more about the Mobile Market, the Hunger Commission or United Way of Greater New Bedford, click here.




    Texting tips and resources for caregivers of children 0-8: Text GREAT to 274448!

    United Way of Greater New Bedford is pleased to announce it is teaming up with Bright by Text, a text messaging service that supports parents and other caregivers of young children.

    Subscribers to the service receive text messages that link to research-based content on childcare and timely information on local events and resources for kids and families. A new mother might click on an article about how to soothe an infant; a toddler’s babysitter could watch a short video on making sock puppets; a grandparent could discover a weekly reading hour at a library nearby.

    “United Way of Greater New Bedford is thrilled to partner with Bright by Text, especially as more families are needing help and community organizations are looking for ways to share information on important programs and events,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO. “We will use Bright by Text to directly reach families in Greater New Bedford with localized, critical information related to housing and food insecurity, as well as resources like parenting classes, outdoor activities and preschool open enrollment periods.” Community organizations across Greater New Bedford can contribute the latest information about their own programs, events and resources in the area.  Rhode Island PBS has also signed up to be a content and promotional partner and provide video content that will explain this service in greater detail.

    This free service, available in English and Spanish, includes 2 to 4 text messages* per week, often with links to learning activities from PBS KIDS, Sesame Workshop, Vroom as well as tips and community resources specifically targeted to a child’s age and local zip code. Parents and other caregivers can sign up TODAY by texting GREAT to 274448 or online at www.unitedwayofgnb/brightbytext.

    *Standard messaging and data rates will apply.

    United Way’s across Massachusetts celebrate Mass2-1-1 Day virtually and mark grand opening of second Call2Talk mental health line call center

    Massachusetts – Every year on February 11, United Ways in Massachusetts and across the country celebrate 2-1-1 Day to raise awareness of this important public service.  Everyone knows the three-digit number to call in an emergency, but some Bay Staters may not be aware of the simple number they can dial for health and human service assistance.

    Mass2-1-1 provides telephone and web information and referral service for residents of the Commonwealth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Trained 2-1-1 Information and Referral Specialists connect callers to thousands of human service organizations. This includes providers for food programs, housing and emergency shelter, elder care, physical and mental health services, childcare resources, drug and alcohol services, utility assistance, victim services, and at times, is activated when needed for emergencies and disasters.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mass2-1-1 Day celebration will be held virtually on Thursday, February 11 at 2:11 pm.  The public is invited to attend and can do so by clicking the following link to attend virtually  http://bit.ly/211dayma Meeting ID: 972 0171 7774  Passcode: 257168

    Several notable attendees and long-time supporters of Mass2-1-1 will be in attendance, including Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Springfield College President Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, also from Springfield College from the Department of Graduate Social Work, Laura Mackie, Director of Field Education, Lauren Hiller, LICSW, Mass2-1-1 Executive Director Paul Mina, Mass2-1-1 Vice President and Director of Call2Talk, Eileen Davis, as well as Mass2-1-1 Board members and Call2Talk volunteer call-takers.  A special video submission will be shared with attendees from Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who will proclaim February 11, 2021 as 2-1-1 Day across the commonwealth.

    “Dialing 2-1-1 from a landline or cell phone provides residents of Massachusetts with free, confidential, referral services and is easy to use,” said Eileen Davis, Vice President of Mass2-1-1, and Director of Call2Talk.  “Mass2-1-1 is available in all 14 counties across the state and offers translation in over 150 languages. This is a critical service every day, but moreso now while the pandemic continues to impact every aspect of our daily lives.”

    Paul Mina, Mass2-1-1 Executive Director adds, “Our Mass2-1-1 team, in partnership with staff from the Department of Public Health, have done an outstanding job answering calls non-stop since the Governor activated Mass2-1-1 to answer COVID-19 calls last March. More than 200,000 COVID-19 calls have been answered from across Massachusetts since that time, while close to a thousand calls continue to come in daily. When people need up-to-date, accurate information, they can count on, Mass2-1-1 to be there.”

    “Mass 2-1-1 has been an invaluable resource in our region for many years,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO of United Way of Greater New Bedford. “During the pandemic, 2-1-1 provided our residents with up-to-date information on food pantries, child care, financial assistance programs, and COVID-19 resources released by the state and the CDC. We are a proud funder of Mass 2-1-1 and are thankful to the many call takers who have worked tirelessly this past year.”

    Last week, Governor Baker announced that 2-1-1 would serve as the call-in registration site for those 75 years and older to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Call2Talk, the mental health helpline of Mass2-1-1, also has much to celebrate on February 11th, with the grand opening of their new call center, located within the United Way of Pioneer Valley offices in Springfield. The helpline is staffed by highly trained volunteer call takers helping callers move from a place of emotional crisis to a calmer state by providing non-judgmental listening, comfort, and encouragement.

    Call2Talk answers calls through the Mass2-1-1 statewide platform as well as answering calls from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Highly trained volunteer call-takers answer calls and provide confidential and often times lifesaving support to people experiencing emotional distress or potential suicidal ideation and have nowhere else to turn. Call2Talk also works in partnership with Crisis Text Line to provide support by text for those uncomfortable with speaking to a call taker.

    To learn more about the United Way of Greater New Bedford, Mass2-1-1, or Call2Talk, please visit their websites at unitedwayofgnb.org and Mass211.org .

    Mass2-1-1 Inc. is a subsidiary organization of the United Ways in Massachusetts charged with providing the citizens of the Commonwealth with correct, timely and accurate information the first time they are called or searched.  Mass2-1-1 was created and is staffed by United Way. This 24/7/365 service was created as a resource to connect callers to information about critical health and human services programs.


    Federal Funds Available for Emergency Food and Shelter Programs

    Bristol County has been awarded $359,650 in federal funds to supplement local emergency food and shelter programs under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSP) Phase 38. The federal department responsible for this program is the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – these are not state/county government or United Way Funds. United Way of Greater New Bedford serves as the local manager for Bristol County.

    The selection was made by a National Board that is chaired by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America, The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide. The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

    Applications from organizations in the specific categories of emergency food, emergency shelter, rent/mortgage assistance and utility assistance are now being accepted. Completed applications are due on February 1st, no later than 4pm at the United Way of Greater New Bedford, 128 Union St., Suite 105, New Bedford.

    Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local organizations chosen to receive funds must: (1) be a nonprofit; (2) have an accounting system and conduct an annual audit; (3) practice nondiscrimination; (4) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs; and (5) if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board. Qualifying organizations are urged to apply. Any applicant who services clients from more than one of the four major cities in Bristol County must submit a separate budget for each city. The four cities are: Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton.

    If you have any questions, please direct your inquiries to Michelle N. Hantman, 508-994-9625, ext. 212 or mhantman@unitedwayofgnb.org

    Click here to download the EFSP Phase 38 Application

    United Way of Greater New Bedford will be hosting two information sessions in January for all-volunteer groups interested in applying for a Community Building Mini-Grant.

    United Way’s Mini-Grants program empowers all-volunteer groups with budgets of $40,000 or less to apply for funding to implement small-scale, impactful projects in the Greater New Bedford area (Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, New Bedford, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, or Wareham). Potential projects must reflect the goals of United Way in the areas of health, education, financial stability, or basic needs. Groups can apply for up to $2,500 to implement a project that builds community and addresses a need or issue of concern.

    Interested groups are encouraged to attend one of two virtual information sessions to learn more about the Mini-Grants Program and application process. Information sessions will be held on Tuesday, January 19th at 4 pm and Friday, January 22nd at 10 am. Registration is required for the sessions, please call 508-994-9625 ext. 219 or register online at unitedwayofgnb.org/mini-grants.

    “The Mini-Grants Program empowers everyday residents to identify and implement projects to create change locally,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO. “We are continuously impressed by the quality of projects to the program and are hopeful that this year we will see projects that will creatively address some of the issues created by COVID-19.”

    Since its inception in 1995, the Mini-Grants Program has granted $820,314 for local community projects. These projects have positively benefitted schools, neighborhoods, and our community as a whole. Projects have included community gardens, a diaper pantry, literacy programming, community meals, and more. Join past Mini-Grantees and be a change agent in Greater New Bedford by submitting an application to the Mini-Grants Program.

    Applications will be accepted beginning January 15th and are due on February 26th at noon. More information on the Mini-Grants Program and the application can be found at unitedwayofgnb.org.

    This holiday season will look and feel different this year due to the pandemic, but it hasn’t changed the holiday spirit for one local company – Southcoast Health. Knowing that they would be unable to host traditional holiday activities for staff, employees were surveyed in November to decide how to best used the funds designated for these activities. In an overwhelming majority response, employees opted to donate the funds to local charities including United Way of Greater New Bedford.

    “I am so proud that Southcoast staff have elected to make meaningful contributions to important not-for-profits whose work in the region is all about equity and empowerment,” said Keith Hovan, Southcoast President and CEO. “This year, in addition to our annual grants and charitable efforts, we will make significant donations to organizations like the United Way. During a public health crisis that has further devastated underserved families who were already facing deeply challenging circumstances due to social influencers of health like food scarcity, a lack of access to quality education and economic opportunity, and homelessness, their efforts are more important than ever.”

    Southcoast Health announced they would donate a sizeable donation to United Way’s Hunger Commission to help those on the Southcoast struggling with food insecurity. This donation comes as the region faces a surge in COVID cases putting more people in difficult situations. The Greater Boston Food Bank reports that 1 in 8 residents and 1 in 6 children are struggling with hunger in Massachusetts due to the challenges being faced by COVID-19, this is up from 1 in 13 residents and 1 in 11 children last year.

    “We are at a point in time where food security is at the forefront of concern for so many local families,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO of United Way of Greater New Bedford. “Many of them are still out of work or working reduced hours and they are being forced to make difficult decisions between feeding their families and putting a roof over their heads. This donation from Southcoast Health will assist many local families facing these though decisions.”

    Due to the increase in need this past year, United Way’s Hunger Commission took the lead in food security in the region by seeking out new partnerships to obtain more food for residents. This past year, the Hunger Commission delivered over 1.2 million pounds of food to local food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelter – up 269% from 2019.

    Earlier this year, the Southcoast Cares program sponsored United Way’s Mobile Market in Wareham to increase access to free, fresh produce for residents in struggling with food security in the area. Southcoast employees also volunteered during these markets, handing out produce to 1,244 individuals.

    “Our Southcoast Cares program enables us to deliver on our mission of providing health services that extend beyond direct patient care, addressing emerging needs in the community,” said Rachel Davis, Southcoast Director of Community Benefits. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated longstanding food insecurity across our region, and we are honored to have the opportunity to support community partners like the United Way. We’re grateful for their commitment, especially during these challenging times, to delivering critical resources to those most in need.”

    Over the past 9 months, Southcoast Health and United Way of Greater New Bedford have been on the forefront of the pandemic and will continue to take the lead in their respective areas in order to keep the Southcoast safe, healthy, and have their most basic of needs met in the year ahead.


    United way of Greater New Bedford is pleased to welcome three new members to their Board of Directors. Starlene Alves, Francine Ferguson, and Amilton “A.J.” Tavares, Jr. were nominated and accepted to the Board during United Way’s recent Annual Meeting.

    “We are honored to have these three individuals join our Board,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO. “Each has their own area of expertise and unique perspectives which will help guide our work in Greater New Bedford.”

    Starlene Alves was born and raised in New Bedford.  She is a partner at Alves Santos, LLP in New Bedford. She has been practicing law for over a decade after graduating from New England Law and is a member of the Massachusetts and Georgia Bar Associations. Alves also belongs to the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association.

    Francine Ferguson is the Senior Vice President/Retail Banking Officer at Bristol County Savings Bank.  She has spent over 30 years in the financial services industry cultivating changes in both operational processes and implementation of technology. Ferguson is a graduate of Roger Williams University and has completed several leadership programs and certifications.

    Amilton “A.J.” Tavares, Jr. is a Licensed Realtor with Re/Max Vantage and owns his own business, A1 Athletics & Fitness. He has over ten years of experience in human services. Tavares is a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth graduate. He is dedicated to youth in New Bedford and has hosted several skill development clinics in the City to provide positive guidance to develop well-rounded student athletes.

    In addition to the new members, United Way welcomed a new slate of officers to the Board for the upcoming year. Roland Giroux of Acushnet Company as Board Chair, Dr. Shanna Howell of Bristol Community College as Vice Chair, Jennifer Olivier of CliftonLarsonAllen as Treasurer, Jennifer St. Pierre of BankFive as Clerk, and Christopher M. Hodgson of Coastal Financial as Immediate Past Chair.

    United Way of Greater New Bedford fights for the health, education, financial stability, and basic needs of every person in the 9 communities it serve. United Way is committed to making an impact by providing direct services to the community through the New Bedford Shannon and SSYI Programs, the Family Resource & Development Center, Hunger Commission, and New Bedford Community Connections Coalition. Additionally, United Way provides funding to local organizations to provide support to residents through an array programming and services. It also matches volunteers with local opportunities through Volunteer SouthCoast.

    Starlene Alves

    Francine Ferguson

    Amilton “A.J. Tavares, Jr.

    Fun 107 and the United Way of Greater New Bedford are launching our sixth year of making Holiday Wishes come true. We are looking for some help to find deserving families for the program.

    It’s hard to believe, but October is here and the holidays will be here before you know it. The holidays are a joyful time for so many, but it is also a time for stress and worry for others here on the SouthCoast.

    It goes without saying that 2020 has been a rough year for many people. Some of us have lost jobs that we’ve had for years. Others have children struggling with emotional problems, while some have suffered the horrible loss of a loved one from COVID-19.

    For the past six years, Fun 107 and the United Way of Greater New Bedford have teamed up to bring much-needed relief and holiday cheer to local families here on the SouthCoast.

    Ideal candidates for Holiday Wish are families that are struggling in 2020. COVID-related or not, we’re looking for families that have just been up against it lately and could really use a break. Whether it is a sickness of a parent or a child, a lost job, or a recent death in the family, our Holiday Wish program is all about helping families that are living and working here on the SouthCoast. Specific consideration will be given to families that fall between the cracks of other agencies and charities.

    If you or someone you know could benefit from a little boost this holiday season, please let us know about it by filling out the form at the link below. Share it with anyone you think might benefit. United Way of Greater New Bedford will select five SouthCoast families for us to spotlight the week of December 7 and 1 for the Mini Miracle program on WBSM.

    Each morning, Michael and Maddie will share a local family’s story. Then, the magic begins. Local businesses call in to help solve adult problems like broken appliances, needed clothing, or things to help in the home. Our audience helps bring the holiday magic to life, with donations of new toys for the children in the family.

    It’s one of the most important weeks of radio we do all year, and it makes us proud to be from the SouthCoast.

    Nominate a Family Today!

    Written by Michael Rock, Fun 107
    Each year, United Way of Greater New Bedford hosts a Campaign Kickoff to launch the beginning of our annual fundraising campaign. Money raised during our campaign stays local and supports a wide variety of programs and services in Greater New Bedford in the areas of Health, Education, Financial Stability, and Basic Needs.
    To kick off this year’s campaign in a big way, we are hosting a Fresh Start for Kids Drive now through October 1st. Many students in our local public schools have struggled throughout the pandemic with the most basic needs. By joining together, we can make sure these students have what they need to stay healthy and safe. We hope you’ll join us and make a difference in the lives of kids in our community!
    You can be a part of the Campaign Kickoff in 3 ways:
    1. Purchase items off our Fresh Start for Kids Drive list at local store and drop off to us on October 1st from 3-6 pm at Big Value parking lot located at 718 Dartmouth St., Dartmouth.
    2. Purchase items on our Amazon Charity list and have them mailed directly to our office – We’ve already received a handful of packages at the office with items!
    3. Tune into our Facebook page on October 1st as we announce our 2020 Campaign Cabinet and premier our Campaign Video!
    This year’s Kickoff is sponsored by BayCoast Bank & Coastal Financial.
    Hope you will join us for this year’s Campaign Kickoff!