Bishop’s fund donates to Opportunity Networks

AMHERST – Opportunity Networks, a nonprofit organization serving residents from the Southern New Hampshire area who live with acquired and developmental disabilities, recently received a $5,000 grant for its “Food Distribution Program” from the Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund.

Formed as a nonprofit organization 30 years ago, Opportunity Networks is a 501c(3) charity that provides meaningful employment, job training and support to adults living with acquired and developmental disabilities in the Southern New Hampshire community. Its mission is to develop an enhanced quality of life for each individual enrolled in the program. They also provide life skills, wellness programs, and social opportunities for their clients, including volunteering in their local community.

“Community involvement by our clients is one of the most important aspects of the success of our day program,” Rocky Morelli, executive director of Opportunity Networks, said. “Our clients want to be a part of the bigger community in Southern New Hampshire. It is important for them to view themselves as being a vital part of their communities.”

One of the most important community volunteer roles the clients at Opportunity Networks have played in recent years has been in the area of food distribution to the poor and disadvantaged, through their “Food Distribution Program.” Three times each week, the staff and clients collect donated food from local farm stands such as Lull Farm, food donation centers, and local churches. They then transport these perishable and non-perishable food items to local food pantries, such as the SHARE Outreach program in Milford and the Tolles Street Mission in Nashua. It is from these locations that hundreds of less fortunate families and individuals in the Southern New Hampshire community are able to come and receive much-needed food items.

Due to tight budgetary constraints at Opportunity Networks, the continuation of this very worthwhile program was at risk of cancellation until the Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund awarded them the grant money to continue this program.

In commenting on his heartfelt gratitude to the Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund, Morelli added, “With the ability to continue this program, this grant benefits not only our clients, but also as a result, the many underprivileged citizens who rely on the food pantries in the Southern New Hampshire area. We have a saying at Opportunity Networks: ‘By working together, we build a stronger community.’ This certainly is appropriate in this case, and for that, we are grateful.”

For more information on Opportunity Networks, visit their Web site at www.opportunitynetworks.org or call 883-4402.

The Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund supports tax-exempt organizations that improve the quality of life and provide basic essentials for individuals and families living in New Hampshire. Its focus is especially on the poor and disadvantaged living in our community.

The fund is operated by a volunteer lay board of directors who make recommendations to the Bishop of Manchester for grants to any organization whose mission is consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.