Project Bread understands the importance that local community solutions have in ending hunger. Through our Community Partnerships program, we have granted over $600,000 to anti-hunger organizations across the state to support those solutions.
Tina Ho, the 26-year-old Integrated Service Lead of QARI’s Family and Community Services, describes the vital work she does in Quincy and beyond. June marks QARI’s 21st anniversary.
As a bilingual speaker of both English and Chinese, in Mandarin and Cantonese dialects, Tina Ho is an invaluable resource to the members of her communities. As a member of QARI, with her third year anniversary in July, Tina works directly with residents in Quincy and neighboring communities. Many times, their English proficiency is not strong enough to navigate the government services and resources that they may need.
Tina’s department assists clients with accessing an array of services they qualify for, but often cannot directly access for a variety of reasons. “Language is a big barrier and also transportation,” Tina notes.
Some of the resources that clients in Tina’s department qualify for and need include access to public housing, parenting classes, and resources to improve food security, such as applying to SNAP and recertifying for the program. Tina and members of her department provide much-needed follow-up with clients’ applications, such as getting together needed supporting documentation and providing help with interviews with state workers. Her department also has a significant outreach program to educate potential clients on resources available to them.
Project Bread and the Greater Boston Food Bank have a partnership with QARI to assist with their clients’ SNAP applications.
QARI provides many other vital resources for immigrants integrating into their communities, such as English classes and youth development programs.
QARI serves over 10,000 clients a year, with Tina’s department Family and Community Services department serving 4,000 clients per year.
Tina places a special emphasis on the needs of seniors in the communities QARI serves. Oftentimes seniors have many other barriers to receiving assistance, and may not receive the care that they need to be successful in their community.
“We build a relationship with seniors. They trust QARI. They need transportation or assistance with their applications,” Tina said.
Tina understands that many seniors are isolated, especially through the pandemic. Access to mental health and behavioral resources is vital in managing emotional stress.
QARI also provides their own workshops to address many of these common concerns.
Due to pandemic isolation, outreach to seniors is an important part of how they serve them as well. Social media is an important part of their outreach, but referrals are a large part of bringing clients in. QARI’s work in communities is well-known, and their roots run deep. “If community members need help or assistance, they contact QARI. We work together to build trust and inclusion.”
Tina’s bilingual talents are especially needed for clients, because many applications are in English, or if translated, they are too complicated for clients to understand. Clients are also not always aware of the processes they need to go through in order to successfully complete an application.
Though many of QARI’s clients are in Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth, and surrounding areas in the south shore, QARI has expanded to have offices in Providence and New York City. QARI assists Asian American and Pacific Islanders and has resources for speakers not only of Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, but also for speakers of Portuguese, Arabic, and Vietnamese.
For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, QARI teamed up with the Red Sox for a cultural parade in Fenway Park. On May 3rd, Fenway Park was the center of cultural performances such as a Dragon Dance, taiko drumming, and cultural foods in addition to the Red Sox’s opening game.
The Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 4 - 0 that day.
Tina likes to share the successes she and the Family and Community Services department have with their clients. It’s important to communities and individuals to know they have a place to turn to help them be successful in a new place.
“A client who goes to ESL classes, gets a job… That’s a story we want to share with the community.”
Learn more about the lead organizations Project Bread hss formed strategic partnerships with ln ten target cities in Massachusetts, where we know we can really move the needle on hunger by lifting local solutions.