Dedham Launches COVID-19 Relief Fund

May 28, 2020

Contributions will help residents pay for food, housing, utilities and other basic needs

Dedham, MA — In an effort to mobilize resources to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, and to respond to needs as they evolve, community leaders in Dedham today launched the Dedham COVID-19 Relief Fund.  The Dedham COVID-19 Relief Fund, established by Dedham Town Manager Leon Goodwin, the Select Board, the Dedham COVID-19 Relief Task Force, and other community leaders in partnership with United Way of Massachusetts Bay, will help individuals and families who have been financially impacted by this coronavirus pandemic with a focus on our most economically vulnerable neighbors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our residents, but it has been particularly devastating to those among us who were already most vulnerable,” said Town Manager Leon Goodwin. “We need our entire community to not only be involved in mitigating and slowing the spread of this virus, but to come together to counter the severe economic effects that it has had on our community. Please consider donating to help your neighbors during this difficult time.”

Immediate needs have been defined as access to food, housing and other basic needs. Funds raised will support expanded food distribution at the Dedham Food Pantry and additional support from Dedham’s St. Vincent de Paul chapters (St. Susanna’s Church and St. Mary’s Church) at the outset. In the coming weeks and months, community leaders in Dedham will be working with United Way and other local human services agencies to provide deeper financial support to individuals and families in need.

“The newly established COVID-19 Relief Fund is yet another example in which Dedham residents rise to the occasion to assist neighbors in need,” said State Rep. Paul McMurtry. “I applaud the efforts of the Task Force and look forward to supporting the mission.”

As COVID-19 reverberates across hospitals, offices, schools and homes, Dedham residents are struggling with how the disease, and its economic fallout, will impact their ability to eat, stay in their homes and ensure access to medical care and other critical supplies. This fund was established to mobilize those who can give to do so generously to support their neighbors.

During times of uncertainty and crisis, people come together to support one another. COVID-19 is a test of our collective strength,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.   “As unemployment continues to soar, United Way is proud to partner with community leaders in Dedham to help individuals, children, and families who are worried about feeding their families and paying their bills during this unprecedented crisis.”

All donations will be collected by United Way and distributed by established Dedham-serving nonprofit organizations with a track record of administering assistance funds. These funds may pay for rent and other housing needs, food, utilities, internet connectivity for families with school-aged children, childcare, medications, and other basic needs.

All gifts are tax-deductible and 100% of the proceeds (net credit card fees) will go to individuals seeking assistance via nonprofits already working in our community. Donations can be made by credit card or through a donor-advised fund online or by sending a check to United Way of Massachusetts Bay, P.O. Box 412866, Boston, MA. 02241-2866. Please make checks out to United Way of Massachusetts Bay and include “Dedham COVID-19 Relief Fund” in the memo of the check.

The town has also created the Dedham COVID-19 Relief Task Force, a group of town staff, human service providers and others connected to residents who may be in need. The Task Force has created a Resource Guide, which will be distributed to Dedham residents and be made available on the town website. The Resource Guide provides instruction on how to access various types of support for financial assistance, housing, food, utilities, childcare, and healthcare, as well as specific information for our senior community and for veterans.

Residents who need help can call a new COVID-19 Resource Line at 781-751-9126 to be connected to resources.