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Brookline/Newton/Wellesley

Program aims to address food insecurity, help restaurants in Brookline, Newton, Wellesley

The Massachusetts State House.
The Massachusetts State House.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber is directing a new state-funded effort to partner with local restaurants and deliver meals to food pantries, senior programs, and people in need starting in March in Brookline, Newton, and Wellesley, the organization said in a statement.

The program, being run in collaboration with the Brookline Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Newton, and the Wellesley Health Department, is supported by a $175,000 state budget earmark proposed by state Senator Cynthia Creem.

“Knowing that local restaurants will be helping bring high-quality food to those in need is a true win-win for our communities,” Creem said in the statement.

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The initiative is intended to deliver more than 10,000 restaurant meals. Each meal will be well-balanced, with a protein, and will be intended to appeal broadly to children and adults. The program will run through June, the group said.

Program money will be spent at local independent restaurants, the statement said: $75,000 is allocated to restaurants in Newton, $60,000 in Brookline, and $40,000 in Wellesley.

Local restaurants in those communities that would like to apply to the food assistance program can apply online through separate websites set up for Brookline, Newton, and Wellesley.

Greg Reibman, the regional chamber’s president, said: “This grant could not come at a better time for both our struggling restaurants and the deeply concerning number of individuals and families in our communities who are struggling with access to food, including residents who may be feeling anxious to leave their homes or are under quarantine.”

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said the program is a “wonderful initiative [that] helps both our restaurants survive the pandemic and those Newton residents struggling to put food on their tables.”

Beth Sullivan Woods, a Wellesley Select Board member, also praised the effort.

“It is a strategically important grant to two key members of the Wellesley community that have been significantly impacted during the pandemic: our independent local restaurants and residents suffering food insecurity,” she said.

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John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.