United Way

United Way releases $180,000 in extra funds in the greater Lowell area.

Lowell set to receive an additional $45,000 for a total of $72,500 in targeted aid
Lowell – In the days before another winter storm, United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley will release an extra set of emergency funding in Lowell, Lawrence, Lynn and Quincy, four communities that have been hit especially hard by the ongoing economic crisis.  The one-time surge in funding totals $180,000 and will be targeted to aid residents with emergency assistance for rent, utilities, food and other basic needs. To galvanize additional support, the organization is calling upon businesses and individuals in each of the communities to help their neighbors by contributing to targeted emergency funds set-up by community at www.chooseyourimpact.org.  This week, the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, led by President and CEO Joe Bevilacqua who is also Co-Chair of the United Way Merrimack Valley Advisory Council, has joined the effort to get the word out.

Last year, despite helping more than 10,000 families across the region through a basic needs investment of $797,000, United Way and its partner organizations were unable to meet the needs of 4,000 families requesting help.  “This year, we are doing everything possible to ensure that families do not have to choose between basic needs like food, housing and heat,” said Michael Durkin, president of United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley. “We can not do it alone. We need neighborhoods, businesses, and entire communities to rally around this cause, so that every family gets the help they need.”

The one-time $180,000 surge for Lowell, Lawrence, Lynn and Quincy is in addition to United Way’s region-wide basic needs funding, which has increased 13 percent this year over last.  Lowell will receive an additional $45,000 on top of the $27,500 announced in December.  United Way’s free helpline received nearly 300 calls from Lowell residents last year, the vast majority of them requesting help for basic needs. The unemployment rate in Lowell is 10.7 percent, with more than 5,500 individuals out of work.

The emergency funds will be distributed to Lowell families in financial crisis through Community Teamwork, Inc. at 167 Dutton Street in Lowell.   Individuals seeking help can contact those agencies or call United Way’s free, confidential and multi-lingual helpline: Mass 2-1-1. Merrimack Valley businesses and residents interested in helping their neighbors can do so at:  http://chooseyourimpact.org/lowell.   Funds raised will go directly to Lowell residents in crisis.