A Little Help: Everett Community Care Fund to Distribute First Checks Thursday

The Everett Community Care Fund will hold its first distribution of funds to 100 families on Thursday – cutting checks to utility companies and phone companies for $200 each to help those most affected by the pandemic.

The Fund launched late last week and is run in conjunction with the United Way, five community partners and the City of Everett.

On Thursday, Latinos United in Massachusetts (LUMA) will be giving out the checks to approved families – all of whom have to be Everett residents and have been vetted by a committee.

“When we talked to people in the community, rent and bills are the big areas they need help now,” said Lucy Pineda, director of LUMA. “With food, there is a shortage now, but there are a lot of services already happening with different organizations in the city.”

With an application pool of 300, and $20,000 to help 100 families, Pineda said they had to make careful decisions. All applicants had to fill out a form with basic information and also whether they are working or not, and if they are receiving support from other organizations.

“Based on that information, we decided which families would get approval,” she said. “On Thursday, they will come pick up their checks. It will be under the name of the provider – the utility company or phone company. They will just send this check to the company with their regular bill. In doing that, we’ll help 100 families. However, we have 300 applicants so 200 families are on a waiting list for another round of funding if it is available.”

Mayor Carlo DeMaria last week announced the establishment of the  HYPERLINK “https://unitedwaymassbay.org/covid-19/local-funds/everett/” \h Everett Community Care Fund  in partnership with United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. Seeded with a $100,000 challenge match grant from United Way, the Everett Community Care Fund has mobilized resources for emergency assistance to households who are financially impacted, with a focus on those who are most economically vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will deploy resources through five local nonprofit partners to prevent financial crises and displacement for the residents of Everett. 

“Many lives have been disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor DeMaria. “While the health of our residents is paramount; the financial burden that many face isn’t far behind.  The need for resources in Everett will continue to grow, I’m thankful to United Way for their assistance and generous seed fund to get us started. I would encourage all of those who are able to donate to help a friend, family member, or neighbor that may be struggling during this time.”

To kick off the effort, United Way provided $100,000 to the Everett Community Care Fund.  Grants of $20,000 each were distributed to Mystic Valley Elder Services, La Communidad, Everett Haitian Community Center, Latinos Unidas en Massachusetts (LUMA) and Eliot Community Human Services. All of them, including LUMA, are now working to get the money into the right hands.

As COVID-19 reverberates across hospitals, offices, schools, and homes, many in Everett are being impacted in ways they never imagined a month ago.  Businesses who make up the backbone of Everett’s local economy have significantly reduced their hours or have been forced to close. People who are not paid if they are not working are trying to figure out how they will make ends meet. The Everett Community Care Fund was established to mobilize those who can give to do so in support of their neighbors.

“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 Mayor DeMaria and community leaders in Everett to help meet the basic needs of individuals, children and families during this unprecedented crisis.”

The Everett Community Care Fund will focus on the basic needs of families. 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 Everett nonprofit organizations with a track record of administering assistance funds. These funds will cover the costs of essential needs including, but not limited to, rent, food, utilities, childcare, medications, and other basic necessities.

Tess Kohanski, who typically works in the City’s Economic Development office, has been working to get the fund underway. She said it is important to know that the funding is specifically for Everett residents and that is checked thoroughly. Also, she said there is no requirement for residents to prove citizenship, so anyone from Everett is invited to apply to any of the five organizations without fear of immigration consequences.

All gifts are tax-deductible and 100 percent of the proceeds (net credit card fees) will go to individuals seeking assistance via nonprofits already working in Everett. 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 “Everett Covid-19 Care Fund” in the memo of the check.

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