Rep. Trahan visits Community Cupboard, Zarape Restaurant in Marlborough

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By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

US Representative Lori Trahan at the Marlborough Community Cupboard speaks with Community Cupboard Director Barbara LaGrenade.
Photo by/Dakota Antelman US Representative Lori Trahan at the Marlborough Community Cupboard speaks with Community Cupboard Director Barbara LaGrenade.

MARLBOROUGH – U.S. Representative Lori Trahan (MA-03) visited Marlborough, July 14, making stops at the Marlborough Community Cupboard and at Zarape Restaurant. 

The visits were billed as a chance to highlight ways relief funding from the American Rescue Plan had made a difference in Marlborough. Within that, she specifically spent time educating Community Cupboard visitors on the expanded child tax credit, which began sending monthly payments to qualified families on July 15.

“It’s unbelievable what it’s going to do in just the district that I serve,” Trahan told reporters in regards to the tax credit. 

Trahan represents Massachusetts’ third congressional district, which includes Hudson and Marlborough. On July 14, she was joined by state legislators Danielle Gregoire and Carmine Gentile. 

City Councilor Samantha Perlman, who regularly volunteers at the Community Cupboard, also attended the event. 

The Community Cupboard provides food and nutrition assistance to area families facing food insecurity. As COVID-19 has exacerbated a number of the problems it works to address, the organization has pushed into overdrive, expanding its operation and outreach. 

One hundred thousand dollars in state funding helped fund some of that expansion at the Community Cupboard’s Walker Building headquarters in downtown Marlborough. 

Lori Trahan speaks to an individual at the Community Cupboard in Marlborough about the newly expanded Child Tax Credit.
Photo by/Dakota Antelman Lori Trahan speaks to an individual at the Community Cupboard in Marlborough about the newly expanded Child Tax Credit.

More broadly, $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funding is headed to local food banks like the Community Cupboard, the United States Department of Agriculture announced last month. 

“All of us at United Way are grateful for the congresswoman’s leadership and support in helping us feed hungry families in our region,” said Paul Mina, President and CEO of United Way of Tri-County, which helps operate the Community Cupboard. “We are also happy to participate in her efforts to make the expanded Child Tax Credit a reality.”

The Community Cupboard bustled with guests during Trahan’s visit. The congresswoman spoke briefly with some of those individuals, passing out informational cards to raise awareness about the Child Tax Credit.

This type of credit is not new. The American Rescue Plan, however, expanded it and allowed families to receive incremental payments throughout the year, rather than one lump sum. 

Those who either filed taxes in 2019 or 2020 or signed up to receive their COVID-19 stimulus checks will automatically receive any payments they qualify for. Others can still receive payments but need to first sign up through a portal on the IRS.gov website.

“Folks who are coming here to get nutrition assistance, or who are coming here because they are food insecure are the folks who are needing this the most,” Trahan said of the need for this kind of outreach.

After the Community Cupboard visit, Trahan visited Zarape. 

That restaurant was hit hard by COVID-19. However, it kept its doors open thanks in part to $121,600 in Paycheck Protection Program funding secured through the CARES Act last year, according to a press release from Trahan’s office. 

The congresswoman made one additional local appearance, July 14, visiting Hologic, a medical technology manufacturer headquartered in the Campus Drive area of Simarano Drive. There, she thanked that company for its work developing and manufacturing COVID-19 tests and, more recently, addressing “health disparities affecting Black and Hispanic women” according to a social media post. 

“A lot of things have been exposed in the last 15 months in terms of the needs of the community,” she said of her current work on behalf of constituents. “We want to make sure that we address those needs.”