United Way releases $150,000 in emergency assistance to help local families

March 30, 2016

BOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley recently released an additional $150,000 in funds for emergency assistance to help local families.  The grants are distributed through United Way’s Family Fund, which helps struggling families across Eastern Massachusetts make ends meet by assisting with basic needs such as heating, food, and housing. With this recent round of funding, United Way has awarded over $500,000 for emergency assistance since July 1, 2015, a 25 percent increase over funds distributed last fiscal year.

Eighteen organizations in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Lowell, Lynn, Newton, Quincy, Weymouth and Woburn received grants this month to help provide emergency financial assistance to families in crisis.

From July through December of 2015, United Way’s Family Fund served over 92,000 individuals, through its community partners.  Nearly a quarter, or 21,200, of the individuals served were children.   Community organizations report that they were unable to help close to 1,100 families in the same time period to due lack of available funds.    Most families received assistance to help pay for rent, utilities and food.

“The need in many communities – and more importantly the unmet need – is very real,” said Michael K. Durkin, President at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.  “We know that children are at greater risk of not succeeding in school when they are hungry, cold or homeless.  By supporting the Family Fund, donors and corporate partners in our region, such as Bank of America and National Grid Foundation, are helping to ensure that we quickly stabilize those families most at risk to prevent the negative impacts of hunger and homelessness.”

The Family Fund has awarded over $500,000 to 28 organizations across the region this fiscal year.   United Way’s Family Fund seeks to expand the availability of emergency basic needs (heat, shelter, and food) assistance; build the capacity of partner agencies to provide these services; and provide seamless access to additional services through United Way’s Mass211 helpline.  Additional supporters of the Family Fund include the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation., Charles Sanders Trust, Lucia B. Morrill Charitable Foundation, and Perpetual Trust For Charitable Giving, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and Cornerstone Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

 Families in need of emergency financial assistance should call United Way’s Mass211 helpline (dial 211) to be directed to their closest community resource.