Let’s face it, living in Boston is expensive. From housing to childcare to food and transportation – the cost of living continues to skyrocket and the line between staying ahead and falling behind is shrinking. For the second consecutive year, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley hosted Greater Boston Project Connect — a one-day event to provide critical services and resources to people living in transition. This year we served 451 people from 182 families.
“Our community is only as strong as its most vulnerable members,” says Steve Krichmar, Chairman of the Board of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and Managing Partner of Krichmar & Associates. “United Way is proud to bring together so many services and volunteers under one roof to help provide stability and a path to a better life for those facing homelessness in our community.”
Before the doors opened the morning of the event, Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh kicked off the day with an inspiring message to nearly 200 volunteers via recorded video. The sprawling space at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, Ma was brimming with compassion, which could be felt as soon as the guests arrived and continued throughout the day.
“To be honest, I didn’t know that all of you were going to be so welcoming.” said Antonia from Dorchester. She attended the event to receive the services being offered, and she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of the community.
According to Antonia, “Opening up doors to people is a phenomenal thing to do. United Way is passing on kindness and hope – where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Throughout this incredible day, each family was paired with a Volunteer Ambassador to personally guide them through all of the available resources. Sixty-six businesses, government agencies and community-based organizations rallied together to offer more than 2,400 services to our attendees, including:
- Dental screenings
- Legal consultation
- Financial check-ups
- Employers and job training programs
- Resources about children’s behavior and development
- Out-of-school time youth programs
- City and state agencies
- Access to SNAP benefits
- Workshops on healthy eating and stretching grocery budgets
- Career coaching and resume writing
- Adult and children’s haircuts
- Professional clothing
- Back to school supplies
There was also another awesome element of Greater Boston Project Connect not to be overlooked. While their parents were visiting various service areas, kiddos had a blast in the Kids’ Corner playing games, having their faces painted, and doing arts and crafts.
Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a workshop on healthy eating – even for the pickiest of eaters. And families got a chance to unwind and enjoy a meal during the day with food donated by Better Bagels, Fresh Generation, Caffe Nero, Capital One, and Anna’s Taqueria.
Greater Boston Project Connect was made possible through a mix of individual and corporate donors, including AEW Capital Management, J & M Brown Company, Inc., Yale Appliance & Lighting, BCG, Cabot Corporation, Eden Properties LLC and Wayfair.
We also wish to recognize all of the organizations and businesses that showed up in a true community effort to support our neighbors in need, including: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, Boston Scores, Boston University School of Dentistry, Capital One, City of Boston’s Office of Housing Stability & Office of Financial Empowerment, City of Boston Credit Union, Career Collaborative, Comcast, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Massachusetts Health Connector, MetroHousing Boston, Partners HealthCare, Resilient Coders, Samaritans, Inc., Tailored for Success, Walgreens Pharmacy, Wegmans Food Markets, and many others.