Winchester Community Leaders and United Way Launch Winchester COVID-19 Community Care Fund

April 23, 2020

WINCHESTER, MA –Town Manager Lisa Wong and members of the Winchester Select Board today announced the establishment of the Winchester COVID-19 Community Care Fund in partnership with United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. The Winchester COVID-19 Community Care Fund will mobilize resources to support Winchester residents who are in need of emergency assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will deploy resources through local nonprofit partners to expand food distribution efforts and support the most economically vulnerable residents in the community.

“This is a truly remarkable community that comes together to make sure no one is left behind. Giving to the emergency relief effort will tackle the urgent and unexpected needs our families and most vulnerable are facing,” said Michael Bettencourt, Chair of the Winchester Select Board. As COVID-19 reverberates across hospitals, offices, schools, and homes, many in Winchester are being impacted in ways they never imagined a month ago. This fund was established to mobilize those who can give to do so, generously, in support of their neighbors.

To kick off the effort, the Winchester Select Board voted to approve a $10K matching contribution from the Asa Fletcher Fund, which was established by Winchester resident Asa Fletcher in 1894 for the specific purpose of helping “the poor of Winchester.” Since that time, the Select Board has used this fund to support residents’ needs for housing, food, health care and other emergent financial needs.

“As we all struggle to cope with COVID-19 in our homes and in our communities, we can also act — to help others,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “United Way is proud to partner with Town Manager Lisa Wong and members of the Winchester Select Board to help meet the basic needs of individuals, children and families during this unprecedented crisis.”

The Winchester COVID-19 Community Care Fund will focus on expanded distribution of food assistance through the Council on Aging, Winchester Got Lunch, Woburn Council of Social Concern, and other emergency financial assistance needs that emerge in the coming weeks and months. Priority will be given to those who are most economically vulnerable to this crisis.

All donations will be collected by United Way and distributed by established Winchester area nonprofit organizations with a track record of administering assistance funds for essential needs including, but not limited to, rent, food, utilities, childcare, medications, and other basic necessities. Payments will be sent to the vendor or provider of services; money will not be given to individuals directly.

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 the 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, PO Box 51381, Boston, MA 02205-1381. Please make checks out to “United Way of Massachusetts Bay” and include “Winchester COVID-19 Care Fund” in the memo of the check.

If you are a resident in need of assistance, contact United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline or visit mass211.org for comprehensive information and referrals related to the virus. The agencies distributing food assistance for Winchester residents can be reached at:

● Council on Social Concern: food bank either by appointment or coming into Enka Exchange for an emergency box – contact Paula Matthews at (781) 935-6495 ext. 208

● Winchester Got Lunch: families can sign up at winchestergotlunch.org/signup/

● Winchester Council on Aging: senior food assistance and support available by contacting 781-721-7136

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