Watertown Community Foundation Using Resilience Funds to Help Food Pantry, Fund Coordinator

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Just weeks after creating the Resilience Fund to help Watertown weather the Coronavirus outbreak, the Watertown Community Foundation has awarded money to help make sure residents have food, and to fund a coordinator to help those in need of assistance.

The fund started with $40,000 from the Foundation’s unrestricted fund and donations from board members and staff. That amount has increased to more than $60,000 thanks to donations from individuals, local businesses and foundations, said WCF Executive Director Jan Singer.

The money is intended to help people who are struggling due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the funds have already been distributed to help restart the operation of the Catholic Coalition Food Pantry in East Watertown, and to hire a part-time coordinator to help match people with the assistance they need.

The Foundation has already heard from numerous people.

“We have had an increase of people reaching out for help,” Sing said. “From accessing food beyond the food pantries to helping with food shopping and delivery for seniors to assistance in applying for unemployment, paying rent, and finding ways to bring hotspots and internet access to WHA communities.”

One issue has been reaching people not familiar with local social services, and even those who are having trouble communicating. Singer said the new coordinator will be able to help in those situations.

“One of the big issues is letting those who may not speak English or have familiarity with the different services know that they are available,” Singer said. “By creating a hub of resources we hope to make the connections between those in need with services and volunteers who can help.”

Find out more in the announcement sent out by the Watertown Community Foundation:

The Watertown Community Foundation’s Community Resilience Fund was created to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 emergency and similar crises. The initial response from the community has been outstanding. Nearly one hundred individuals, businesses, and foundations have stepped up with donations that have helped the fund grow to over $60,000 in just a few weeks.

From its inception the Community Resilience Fund (CRF) was designed for rapid response. Through our front-line community partners we have identified immediate needs and have deployed the first of the funds. In this time of crisis access to food is critical. After a two week closing, the Catholic Coalition Food Pantry, located at St. Vincent’s Parish at 770 Mt. Auburn St., has reopened to the public on Thursdays from 10 AM-11:45 AM. Watertown Community Foundation is pleased to announce the CRF has made a major donation to the pantry that primarily serves the east end of town.

When families are forced to choose between food and rent, the need is immediate. Through the Social Services Resource Specialist at Wayside, Jenna Willis, LCSW, we are providing funds for grocery store gift cards. As the resource needs quickly grow, we will increase the capacity of the SSRS with additional support. CRF money will fund a part time coordinator to assist Jenna as she creates an online hub to match those in need with the appropriate resources including community volunteers.

We remain committed to serving the needs of our community in these unprecedented times, and we hope you will join us if you can.

Donations may be made:

By check:
Watertown Community Foundation – Community Resilience Fund
P.O. Box 334
Watertown, MA 02471

Online at http://www.watertownfoundation.org/donate/

For instructions on donating appreciated securities, or other questions you may have, please contact Jan Singer at  jan.singer@watertownfoundation.org.  

The Watertown Community Foundation, a public, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, works to build and sustain a vibrant, close-knit community in Watertown – now, and for future generations. To accomplish this, WCF raises funds from individuals, families, businesses, and foundations; awards grants to nonprofits and community projects; and builds networks of donors, grantees, program participants, and stakeholders. 

WCF Board of Directors 

David Siegel and Darshna Varia, Co-Presidents; Robert Airasian; Albrik Avanessian; Emily Barclay; Jennifer Davis; Eleanor Donato; William B. Ford; Ashley Morris; Mary Ann Mulligan; Antonia O’Hara; Anthony Paolillo; Maria Panaggio-Phillips; Christine Parker; Lora Sabin; Robert Shay; Curtis Teixeira; Elaina Themistos; Lauren Coughlin Unsworth; and Kathryn White.

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