State Awards Security Grants to Haverhill’s All Saints Parish and Methuen’s M.V. Islamic Academy

Rep. Andy Vargas also interacted with Gov. Charlie Baker during the signing of a civics education bill in 2018. (Courtesy photograph)

A Haverhill church and Methuen faith-based school are among 53 organizations and houses of worship to share in nearly $1 million in state grants designed to address safety and security.

All Saints Parish in Haverhill was awarded $30,000, while the Merrimack Valley Islamic Academy of Methuen was awarded $17,690 for grants to help pay for safety improvements to protect attendees at sites facing potential increased risks of violence. In a virtual award ceremony, Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas Turco were joined by Sen. Walter Timilty and Reps. James O’Day and Andy X. Vargas and faith leaders from their districts.

“All Saints Parish in Haverhill provides a strong community for so many looking to worship, but also serve our community,” said Vargas. “Throughout this pandemic, parishioners have stepped up to support their neighbors, especially those facing food insecurity. This grant reassures our community that they can worship and serve our community safely,” he said.

Father Christopher Wallace of All Saints Parish added, “Our beautiful and historic church is located in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Haverhill, where we have a very active faith community and lots of foot traffic between our churchgoers, our active food pantry, pregnancy care center and walkways that connect the neighborhood to our local city park of Swasey Field. This grant will help ensure that the grounds of All Saints will always be a safe place and spiritual home for everyone in our community.”

In 2018, Massachusetts established the Commonwealth Nonprofit Security Grant Program to allocate state money to nonprofit organizations selected through a competitive grants process. The program annually supports target hardening and other physical security enhancements for locations at high risk for terrorist attacks or hate crimes. To date, the program has provided about $3 million in funding to 124 organizations.

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