MARLBOROUGH — Congresswoman Lori Trahan stopped by the newly renovated Marlborough Community Cupboard on Wednesday to help spread the word about a newly expanded federal child tax credit that goes into effect Thursday.
“We need them to know that they’re entitled to this benefit,” she said in an interview with the Daily News. “It’s unbelievable what it is going to do in just the district that I serve. It’s going to impact 8,200 children and lift them right out of poverty.”
The child tax credit was expanded as part of the federal $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, passed earlier this year. It increases the standard credit to $3,600 per year for children under 6, and to $3,000 for children ages 6-17 for 2021, with half of the payment amount paid out monthly starting Thursday.
The child tax credit previously maxed out at $2,000 annually per qualifying child.
The Biden administration has said the program was expanded as part of its efforts to support low-income families and spur healthy child development.
Trahan, whose 3rd Congressional District includes Marlborough, Hudson and part of Sudbury, has been making the rounds at food banks and community health centers throughout her district in the past month, letting people know about the new program.
As cars lined up Wednesday morning to receive meals from the food bank, Trahan approached each to provide flyers with information about the program. Accompanying her were state Reps. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, and Carmine Gentile, D-Sudbury, as well as City Councilor Samantha Perlman.
“The folks who are coming here to get nutrition assistance and are coming here because they are food insecure — they are the folks that need this the most,” she said.
Marlborough City Councilor Samantha Perlman, left, and state Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, wheel a carriage full of food to a waiting car during food distribution at Community Cupboard in Marlborough, July 14, 2021.
It’s been about a month since the Marlborough Community Cupboard was renovated using funds the organization received from the Massachusetts Emergency Assistance Program, according to cupboard Director Barbara LaGrenade.
Approximately $100,000 in renovations brought in new refrigerators, a lift, flooring and shelves, as well as other enhancements to the aging Walker Building.
LaGrenade estimates the cupboard serves more than 400 families monthly. During the height of the pandemic, it served closer to 600.
With the added capacity and new refrigerators, the cupboard can now serve more people than ever, she said.
The expanded tax credit is nothing but good news for the people who take advantage of the pantry, she explained.
“It’s extra funds for the family,” she said.
She said she was thankful that Trahan visited to check out the renovations and promote the expanded tax program.
Trahan also visited Zarape Mexican Restaurant, 33 Maple St., a local business that received funding from both the Paycheck Protection Program and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
Restaurant owner Ana Varela said those loans were essential in helping her business weather the pandemic. And while she is still not fully staffed, she expressed thanks for the city’s support and Trahan’s visit.
“It makes us feel great, welcomed and heard,” Varela said.
Those who completed their 2019 and 2020 tax returns, as well as those who signed up to receive direct payments from the IRS, will receive child tax credit payments automatically.
Those who haven’t completed their tax returns or signed up for a stimulus check, are instructed to visit the IRS’s website and use its sign-up tools.
Cesareo Contreras can be reached at 508-626-3957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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