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Making News in Business – GazetteNET – GazetteNET

Making News in Business<br />

Published: 6/2/2021 6:38:16 PM

New CISA board members 

The board of directors for the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture has three new members, including farmers from Sunderland and Hadley.

Kat Chang Laznicka of Sunderland owns and operates Reed Farm in Sunderland, a small-scale pastured poultry farm and licensed poultry processing facility since 2019.

Wally Czajkowski of Hadley owns Plainville Farm, where tobacco and vegetables are grown.

Finally, Jenny Ladd of Northampton is a philanthropic advisor as well as fundraising coach and trainer on race and class issues.

Dakin’s pet food drive nets over 10K pounds

SPRINGFIELD — Dakin Humane Society’s 2021 Pet Food Drive, held during the month of April, yielded more than 10,000 pounds of pet food by month’s end, according to Dakin’s Executive Director Carmine DiCenso.

In previous years the nonprofit held pet food drives for a one-week period, but the enormous increase in demand for pet food that began during the pandemic led to the decision to make it a monthlong effort.

“In a typical year before 2020, we’d provide about 25,000 pounds or so of pet food annually,” said Director of Marketing and Development Stacey Price. “Last year, however, we distributed more than five times that amount. It showed us how much our community needed help, especially as jobs were lost and families with pets faced food insecurity.”

Dakin’s Pet Food Aid Program was created more than 15 years ago to help families facing temporary hardship in feeding their pets. The pet food is available at Dakin, and is also distributed to area food banks as a helpful addition to the goods provided for people to consume.

Florence Bank gives $100K to nonprofits

FLORENCE — Food insecurity skyrocketed in the past year in the Valley as the pandemic caused layoffs, slowdowns and business closures, and the results of Florence Bank’s 19th Annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program reflect an awareness of the crisis.

Last year, only 10% of Florence Bank customers cast votes for organizations that ease food insecurity. This year, twice as many votes were cast for the cause, perhaps because the bank itself committed to supporting organizations that focus on food insecurity at the start of the pandemic. Since March 2020, Florence Bank has donated $140,000 to help feed people who are hungry.

During its Customers’ Choice celebration last month, $21,528 of the $100,500 in grants that Florence Bank awarded to area nonprofits went to five organizations focused on feeding people. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Inc. and the Amherst and Northampton Survival Centers each received $5,000; Manna Community Kitchen in Northampton, $3,933; and Easthampton Community Center, $2,595.

Lee Anderson, a board member for Manna Community Kitchen, said his organization has tripled in terms of the number of area residents for whom it is providing restaurant-quality meals. Manna is now providing 5,000 take-out meals each month at the Elm Street, Northampton, location, and it launched deliveries, serving roughly 30 households at present.

The community grants program is an annual offering founded in 2002; through it, Florence Bank customers are invited to vote for their favorite local nonprofit in hopes it will receive a share of grant funding.

To qualify for a community grant, organizations must receive at least 50 votes. In 2020, almost 7,000 votes were cast, and 32 nonprofit leaders accepted their grants, when a total of $100,500 was awarded.