Marlborough Community Cupboard director honored as ‘Commonwealth Heroine’

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Sen. Jamie Eldridge stands with Barbara LaGrenade. Eldridge recently nominated LaGrenade for honor as a “Commonwealth Heroine.”

By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

MARLBOROUGH – Barbara LaGrenade was recently honored as a Commonwealth Heroine for her work as the Director of the Marlborough Community Cupboard. 

LaGrenade won the award alongside 136 other women across the state, including Shrewsbury Selectman Beth Casavant. The entire group was honored at a ceremony on June 23.

“Barbara LaGrenade…has truly stepped up to feed financially insecure Marlborough residents during the pandemic,” State Senator Jamie Eldridge noted in a press release announcing his nomination of LaGrenade for this honor. 

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women administers the Commonwealth Heroine program as a way to recognize “women who don’t make the news, but make the difference” according to its website. 

Helming the Community Cupboard, LaGrenade has charted a path through a year of increased need in Marlborough. 

As recently as May, the Greater Boston Food Bank noted a lingering spike in food insecurity even as the COVID-19 pandemic began to wane. A survey, they reported, had revealed a 55 percent increase in such food insecurity compared to 2019.

Locally, the Community Cupboard responded to these challenges by “expanding its food networks, and employing creative outreach to residents,” according to Eldridge. The Community Cupboard also bolstered its efforts by adding volunteer staff. 

Back in January, meanwhile, LaGrenade and Eldridge jointly celebrated a $100,000 earmark secured in the state budget to fund facilities upgrades. 

That money allowed the Community Cupboard to install new flooring, a handicap accessible lift, fresh paint and new refrigerators according to a recent Facebook post by Eldridge. 

“I can’t express how grateful we are for this much needed funding as our numbers have increased as a result of the pandemic. They will allow us to serve our families far better in the future,” LaGrenade said in a press release as this earmark was first announced.

Announcing this latest recognition of LaGrenade, Eldridge cited her success in advocating for that state budget aid as a further sign of her leadership and advocacy strength. 

Learn more about the Community Cupboard…https://www.uwotc.org/marlborough-community-cupboard