State Awards COVID-19 Grants to Haverhill and Lawrence Nonprofits Among Others

Jesus Ruiz, president and founder of Leaving the Streets Ministries. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill’s Leaving the Streets Ministries and two Lawrence organizations are among those receiving additional state grants targeted to communities hardest hit by COVID-19.

The money comes from the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative, aimed at increasing awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine and mitigating impacts of the pandemic. The latest grants are part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s $58 million vow to promote vaccine access and confidence, primarily in communities of color.

Grants of between $38,500 and $125,000 were awarded to Leaving the Streets Ministries, founded by Chaplain Jesus Ruiz and his wife Wanda; Asociacion Ministerial Evangelica Del Area de Lawrence; and Centro de Apoyo Familiar of Lawrence.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have turned to trusted community-based organizations who know their communities best,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “They continue to tap their knowledge and relationships to expand and support our Vaccine Equity Initiative by addressing the unique health equity needs of the populations they serve—needs that continue to be exacerbated by COVID-19.”

The organizations will provide, what the state calls, culturally appropriate outreach and education on COVID-19 vaccination and mitigation and host and promote vaccine clinics for priority populations. They are also expected to engage families and children for pediatric vaccinations and boosters.

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