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YMCA launches COVID Crisis Fund to help local kids and families

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

South Coast Today / Middleboro Gazette

The spread of COVID-19 has affected every city and town in the Commonwealth. Closures of schools, businesses, and community organizations have caused a sequence of economic and social disruptions from which we may not fully recover for several years.

Vulnerable populations are feeling the brunt of the impact. According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, “one in three Americans say they or an immediate family member have been laid off or lost their job” because of COVID-19. More than half reported a reduction in pay or work hours.

For households with an income of less than $50,000, minority ethnic groups, and women the numbers are even greater. While the Y has had to temporarily suspend operation of its gym and
fitness areas, they continue to respond to these evolving needs by mobilizing services and continuing to work in the community.

“As we’ve done in the past, we are shifting our focus right now to what is most important,” said Vinnie Marturano, President & CEO of Old Colony Y. “Kids and families throughout Southeastern Massachusetts need extra support and resources during this crisis, and we’re going to
step up and help.”

For these reasons, Old Colony Y launched a COVID Crisis Fund to support the people hit hardest by the pandemic. Whether it be loss of job, food insecurity, or other basic needs this fund will support YMCA programs that provide direct resources to the people who need them
most, with a focus on three key areas.

Old Colony Y is home to 60 families experiencing homelessness,including 120 children, and supports nearly 200 additional families throughout the community. Their needs are exacerbated in times of crisis as resources become scarcer. Food, clothing, and access to mental health and substance use services are essential, but the demand is quickly surpassing the supply.

While most Massachusetts child care centers are closed during the COVID-19 crisis, Old Colony Y was selected as one of Governor Baker’s exempt emergency child care providers. This allows six local centers to serve the children of first responders, healthcare workers, and the other
essential employees who keep our communities running.

Students of lower-income families who lack access to educational programs outside of schools hours are more likely to fall behind in their learning. School closures caused by COVID-19 have compounded this issue, and a lack of equitable virtual learning options will only widen the
gap. In-home educational options for kids are critical during these next few weeks and months.
While it is impossible to predict how long this crisis will last, it is possible to work side by side with our community to meet the most pressing needs of vulnerable kids and families.

To learn more about the COVID Crisis Fund and how you can help,

To learn about making in-kind donations of food or basic needs items,