SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – PeoplesBank and Health New England partnered to donate $20,000 to Gardening the Community in Springfield.

According to the news release sent to 22News by Health New England, the companies’ collaboration came about as representatives from each company were discussing needs in the Springfield community. Both companies support GTC and knowing that 15% of children in Hampden County are food insecure, the companies decided to help.

“We believe that this donation from two of our most valued corporate partners is an investment in our organization, economically and spiritually. It is especially appreciated during this time of rising food costs, as we work to bring forth a just food system that works for all,” said Liz O’Gilvie of GTC. “We will use the funds to support our efforts to grow food that’s affordable while we help our young people to understand the inequities in our food system.”

“PeoplesBank and Health New England are like-minded in our belief that companies have a responsibility to improve the communities in which they do business,” said Matthew Bannister, senior vice president of marketing and corporate responsibility for PeoplesBank. “In working with Health New England as our health plan, we found that we both supported several of the same area non-profits, including Gardening the Community. We decided to demonstrate our partnership with this combined donation.”

“Both Health New England and PeoplesBank know that our companies are part of a larger ecosystem – our community – and when it thrives, we thrive,” said Keith Ledoux, Vice President Commercial Line of Business and Business Development for Health New England. “Together, our support of Gardening the Community will not only fight hunger and promote good health but will bring opportunity to the Mason Square neighborhood.”

Gardening the Community in Springfield grows food on former empty lots to increase access to healthy food in food-insecure areas.