Utica National Group Foundation Awards $250,000 to Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens

Grant Addresses Effect of Pandemic Impact

The Utica National Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Utica National Insurance Group, announced today it has awarded $250,000 to nearly three dozen food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Herkimer and Oneida counties. The Utica National Group Foundation partnered with The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties to identify the need and to distribute the individual grants through its donor-advised fund.

The Utica National Group Foundation was created in 1987 in anticipation of the 75th anniversary in 1989 of the Utica Mutual Insurance Company, the lead company of the Utica National Insurance Group. In 2014, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Utica Mutual, the Utica National Group Foundation donated $1 million to The Community Foundation to create a donor-advised fund intended to address the community’s greatest needs.

This spring, the Utica National Group Foundation donated over $75,000 through its partnership with The Community Foundation to address food insecurity issues resulting from impacts of the pandemic. With food insecurity concerns projected to worsen over the summer, the additional $250,000 grant will support organizations providing nourishment to families in need.

“During these difficult times, helping to minimize the food insecurity in our communities and helping local restaurants weather the storm is vital,” said Bernard Turi, chair of the Utica National Group Foundation’s Screening Committee and Utica National’s senior vice president, general counsel, general auditor, and chief risk officer. “We appreciate all that the nonprofit organizations do on a daily basis for everyone, and this is our way of giving back to them.”

“Our nonprofit partners providing these critical services to the community act as our eyes and ears,” said Alicia Dicks, president/CEO of The Community Foundation. “We are hearing from the food pantries and kitchens that they are seeing increased traffic, in some cases double or even triple the volume they would normally receive in a month. This generous contribution from Utica National is one that will be invaluable to these organizations and the families that they serve.”

The funds awarded will be used to provide individual meals from local restaurants to soup kitchens and will restock food pantries’ shelves with essentials.

“We are incredibly grateful for Utica National’s generosity and supporting our community in this way,” said Matt Miller, executive director of Rome Rescue Mission. “Our hearts broke when restaurants had to close during this difficult time, many of them donating food to us as they had to close their doors and lay off staff. Having the ability to now turn the tables and support them is a privilege for us as we come together to serve our less fortunate populations.”

The grants recipients include:

• Angels Among Us Food Pantry
• Bread of Life Community Center
• Camden Area Food Pantry
• Church of the Holy Family
• Country Pantry
• Dolgeville Area Food Pantry
• Feed Our Veterans
• Foothills Rural Community Ministry
• Frankfort-Ilion Food Pantry
• Helping Hands Food Pantry
• Hope House
• Johnson Park Center
• Kuyahoora Valley Food Pantry
• Mohawk Valley Church Food Pantry
• Mother Marianne’s West Side Soup Kitchen
• Rescue Mission of Utica
• Rome Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Food Pantry
• Rome Rescue Mission
• Salvation Army of Herkimer
• Salvation Army Utica Citadel Corps
• Seeds of Hope Food Pantry
• St. Bartholomew’s Food Pantry
• St. John’s Outreach Food Pantry
• St. Joseph’s Church Pantry
• St. Margaret’s Food Pantry
• St. Patrick’s & St. Mary’s Food Pantry
• The Salvation Army of Rome
• Thea Bowman House Food Pantry
• Town of Verona Food Pantry
• Utica Food Pantry
• Van Hornesville Area Food Pantry
• Waterville Food Pantry
• West Winfield Food Pantry
• Westminster Moriah Olivet Pantry