CONCORD – The Concord City Council approved an amendment to the Neighborhood Matching Grant program to help neighborhood organizations establish food banks and pantries to provide critical food assistance to economically disadvantaged individuals and families.
In May 2002, the city council approved the grant program to help recognized neighborhood organizations fund improvement projects that beautified or enhance the quality of life in the respective communities. The city matches a neighborhood organization’s contribution – such as volunteer labor, donated materials, professional services or cash – for an amount up to $3,000.
The program’s goals were to create a partnership between the city and recognized neighborhoods and also to facilitate neighborhood self-improvement.
The program received several policy amendments in 2015. Among other things, the amendments limited funding to fit in five specific categories.
Those categories are:
• Physical improvement projects
• Neighborhood identity projects
• Community building events
• Environmental projects
• Public Safety
The amendments also added a section that listed items that would not be funded. Food was one of the items prohibited from grant funding. The intent of this limitation, stated the city agenda, was to prevent funding food expenses at neighborhood cookouts or other social events as part of a neighborhood's grant project.
Due to the hardships many communities face due to the coronavirus pandemic, neighborhood leaders asked the city to amend the grant program to consider the establishment of neighborhood food banks and pantries as an eligible activity.
Any other related activities intended to provide critical food assistance to economically disadvantaged individuals and families are also considered eligible.
City legal staff and UNC School of Government faculty, the council agenda stated, helped identify statutory authority and alignment with public purpose requirements for such an activity.