WESTFIELD -A grant from the Lynn Boscher COVID Relief Fund of the Rotary Club of Westfield has helped the St. Vincent de Paul Society continue it’s mission to help the hungry and financially challenged residents of the city.
The non-denominational society operating from St. Mary’s Church offers monthly donations of food, as well as financial support, to those in need and was the recipient of one of several $1,000 grants provided recently by the fund created in memory of former Rotarian Lynn Boscher by his widow, Mary Boscher.
Lynn Boscher, who died in 2019, had been a prominent resident of the city, serving on the City Council, the Westfield Chamber of Commerce and supporting (among other organizations) the Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts and the St. Mary’s PTO.
His widow established the fund in his memory with a $5,000 donation to the Rotary Club of Westfield, asking that the money be used to help persons affected by the COVID pandemic. The Rotary club more than tripled the assets of the fund and, to date, has made grants to several city organizations including the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Kate Taibbi, president of the the Westfield chapter of the society, explained that the funds bolstered the society’s effort to help struggling city families.
She said that the society provides food bundles to about 50 local recipients each month who have registered for assistance by calling the society at 413-568-5619.
The bulk of the food support are staples provided largely by the Western Massachusetts Food Bank, churches such as St. Mary’s, Holy Trinity and St. Peter’s and St. Casimir’s, as well as generous support from both the Big Y and Stop and Shop supermarkets.
Niamh Matthews, a volunteer helper from the Key Club at St. Mary’s High School, pointed out the the bundles often also include “fun items” such as popular breakfast cereals, cookies, snacks and chocolates provided by individual parishioners.
Taibbi said that cash donations, such as the grant from the Rotary club’s Boscher Fund, allow the society to help struggling families pay for their rent, utilities and other basic necessities.
“It takes a village”, she said, saying that she is grateful for all the help the society gets from the community.