The devastation that has been caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is unimaginable.
The COVID-19 Community Response Fund was established to provide donors a place to invest their dollars locally where the need is highest during this unprecedented public health emergency.
This fund will support local vulnerable individuals and families already struggling to afford food who are now faced with the additional challenges of school closings, job disruptions, lack of paid sick leave, and the virus’ disparate impact on adults over 60.
United Way Food Programs Responding to Increased Need
While many smaller food pantries across the state are closing, United Way of Tri-County (UWTC) hunger relief programs are responding to the increased demand for food caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. Vulnerable individuals and families can continue to depend on the following food pantries and hot meal programs in the MetroWest/495 Corridor area:
Each food pantry is responding to the specific needs of their community. In Framingham at the Pearl Street Cupboard & Café at Park, there have been over 50% more families seeking help from the food pantry. Café meals have transitioned to be takeout only and are available Monday through Friday. At WHEAT Community Connections in Clinton, meals are being delivered to seniors and families at five housing developments in Clinton and Lancaster in addition to take-out meals at the WHEAT’s Café. In six weeks, WHEAT has distributed nearly the same number of meals as it did in all of 2019. WHEAT’s food pantry continues to provide groceries to households in need each week. In Marlborough, additional groceries are being provided during each client’s monthly pantry visit for up to three weeks’ worth of food. All our food pantries and cafés are experiencing a growing demand and are responding by working hard to increase the volume of food distributed.
United Way / Mass2-1-1 Information and Referral Call Line Increasing Services to Respond to the COVID-19
As the local response to the global outbreak of Coronavirus changes daily, residents of the Commonwealth have a place to call for answers by dialing three simple numbers: 2-1-1. Since Governor Baker announced that Mass2-1-1 would be activated to take calls about the Coronavirus, Mass2-1-1 calls and searches on mass211.org have increased daily. In the first six weeks of the pandemic, Mass2-1-1 received 50,003 calls about COVID-19 related needs.
Compassionate and highly trained Mass2-1-1 specialists, working directly with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) , provide the most accurate and timely information available on the Coronavirus. Residents can call this free, confidential line by dialing 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone in Massachusetts to talk to trained call takers 24/7. Mass2-1-1’s Call2Talk line has also seen an increase in calls with 45% more calls than the same time last year. About 60% of callers express worry around the Coronavirus.
Project Toy Box
With kids staying home from school, families are doing their best to keep them busy and engaged through various activities. For economically-disadvantaged families, this presents a challenge . Through Project Toy Box, the United Way of Tri-County is partnering with local social service agencies to provide new toys, games, and activities for children in lower-income families and children of frontline workers. Kids ages 5-12 will be receiving STEM-based building kits, art activities, stuffed animals, and more.