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WATERTOWN — Thanks to some federal funding, four organizations are receiving $25,000 each for their food pantries and backpack programs.

On Monday, the City Council approved $100,000 in funding the city was awarded earlier this year through the CARES Act, which Congress approved in July to help communities get through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The city is using a total of $541,642 from the CARES Act for a variety of projects in its Community Development Block Grant program.

While the city received a total of $541,000, council members agreed to set aside the $100,000 to the Salvation Army, Community Action Planning Council, Urban Mission for food pantries and United Way for its student food backpack program through the city school district.

Melinda Gault, executive director for CAPC, expects an increase in food requests by clients as the pandemic worsens and during the holiday season.

“It’ll go a long way,” she said.

Dawn Cole, executive director of the Urban Mission, said it’s an “unprecedented” time for the number of people getting help from the organization’s food pantry.

Serving people five times a week, the Urban Mission has provided food to 17,395 people, with a third of them children.

“We’re very thankful to receive the funding,” she said.

Earlier this week, Maj. Dennis Smullen of the Salvation Army said the organization has received between 50% and 70% in requests for help for food and toys since the pandemic hit in March.

The city is using the rest of the $541,672 in CARES Act money for a $350,000 project to install 3,000 feet of sidewalks along Grant Street, $60,000 for 10 Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps along sidewalks in Thompson Park and $15,000 to construct an asphalt basketball court at the North Hampton Park.

The $16,672 remaining money will be used for administration for the program.

The CDBG funding came from the $2 trillion funding stimulus package to help municipalities get through the coronavirus crisis.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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