Our Local Response
While the pandemic left no one untouched by loss and disruption, it also put a spotlight on alarming disparities among many cities and towns in our region. Some cities, such as Lynn and Lawrence, are still reeling from unemployment rates that peaked as high as 30%. Countless workers across the region remained underemployed with reduced hours and struggled to make ends meet.
In response, United Way established localized relief funds in partnership with elected leaders in Chelsea, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lynn, Everett, Randolph, Revere, and Boston neighborhoods of Mattapan, Dorchester and Hyde Park, to name a few, working with United Way specifically to target support to residents not likely to qualify for public sources of support.
“What people in Chelsea needed the most was financial support. United Way helped by supporting our food pantry efforts and the One Chelsea Fund, which put $250 directly into the hands of families most in need. Without the United Way, people would have been much worse off than they are.” – Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino
Chelsea is home to the Boston region’s residents most impacted by the pandemic: newly-arrived immigrants, undocumented families, and those working in impacted industries like hospitality, restaurants, at the airport, transportation, and families with children. As a frontline community, Chelsea residents already experienced the greater public health challenges associated with environmental contamination. Therefore, the economic, social, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were immediate and dire for the many Chelsea individuals and families who live one paycheck away from serious financial hardship.
The One Chelsea Fund was established in early April of 2020 by Chelsea community leaders, together with City Manager Tom Ambrosino, in partnership with The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. In the first five months, it provided emergency financial assistance to 4,600 Chelsea families who were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As COVID-19 reverberates across hospitals, offices, schools, and homes, many in Lynn have been impacted in ways they never imagined. Businesses who make up the backbone of our local economy have significantly reduced their hours or have been forced to close. People who are not paid if they are not working are trying to figure out how they will make ends meet. This fund was established to mobilize those who can give to do so, generously, in support of their neighbors.
The Lynn Community Care Fund, established by Lynn community leaders in partnership with United Way of Massachusetts Bay, mobilizes resources for expanded food and supply distribution and emergency assistance to households who are financially impacted, with a focus on those who are most economically vulnerable during the pandemic. This fund will deploy resources through nonprofit partners to prevent financial crises and displacement for the residents of our city.
The One Haverhill Fund — convened by Representative Andy Vargas and established by Haverhill community leaders, including Mayor James Fiorentini, Representative Christina Minicucci, the Greater Haverhill Chamber, Community Action, Inc., Emmaus, Haverhill food pantries, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley — mobilizes resources for emergency assistance and expanded food distribution, with a focus on those who are most economically vulnerable during the pandemic. This fund deploys resources through nonprofit partners to prevent financial crises and displacement for the residents of our city.
The Somerville Cares Fund, established by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone in partnership with United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS), will mobilize resources for expanded food and supply access and emergency assistance to households who are financially impacted, with a focus on those who are most economically vulnerable during the pandemic. This fund will deploy resources through CAAS and other nonprofit partners to address the essential needs of Somerville community members facing the many challenges brought on by the crisis.
The Somerville Cares fund focuses on meeting the basic needs of families and individuals, with priority given to those most economically vulnerable to the crisis.