This week was February Vacation Week, and because so many folks take this week for vacation and the Legislature was not in formal session, we had a smaller planned schedule than usual. However, we still met a lot of inspiring folks doing amazing work in Leominster and the Commonwealth!
We kicked off our week meeting with the Worcester County Food Bank and Ginny’s Helping Hands to discuss WCFB’s priorities, including legislation to roll out a Common App to help Close the SNAP Gap. I was shocked to learn that more than 5,000 Leominster residents who qualify for SNAP benefits are not currently enrolled. Learning that many of the residents in the SNAP Gap are elderly residents, I am glad we will be starting our monthly Elder Coffee Hours in March.
We also met with the Kevin Reed, the Director of the Montachusett Opportunity Council. While MOC is based in Fitchburg, they provide vital services all throughout North Central Massachusetts, including WIC and Elder Nutrition, HeadStart, and Housing Assistance. I also met with Auditor Suzanne Bump and her staff to learn more about the important role their office plays in auditing the performance of all state agencies. Then we stopped by an event honoring the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima in Memorial Hall and met with a group of young women through the Big Sister Association in the House Chamber for a Q&A about my path to the State House.
The week wrapped up with our Friday Morning Office Hours at the North End Diner, followed by a tour of two Veterans Housing Programs in Leominster with Veterans Homestead. I am glad to know that Leominster has two great resources in the Armistice and Hero Homesteads. And we wrapped up the week with Congressman Jim McGovern and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas’s DREAMERS Forum to better inform immigrants in our community about their rights.
I have a busy week coming up with the Love and Kindness Standout with Leominster students, accompanying our intern Chris as he presents at the State of Education Briefing in the State House, speaking at the sixth Annual Public HIgher Education Advocacy Day in the Great Hall, visit all four elementary schools in Leominster for Community Reading Day, attend the UMass Women in Leadership Workshop Dinner, and the Growing Places Conference.