United Way of Greater New Bedford is establishing the Help United Fund to be activated in times of crisis including the current COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is a dedicated resource for working families and organizations affected by the coronavirus.

Mobilizing United Way’s broad network of nonprofit agencies, the Help United Fund will provide a flexible source of cash assistance to help families and organizations through this crisis.

“On the SouthCoast, many families are one paycheck away from severe hardship,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO of United Way of Greater New Bedford. “We’ve been monitoring the COVID-19 situation and over the weekend we’ve seen the closures of schools and workplaces throughout the communities we serve. These closures carry with them an unprecedented financial hardship for hourly, low-wage workers. At United Way, we are preparing to help residents in any way we can.”

In Massachusetts, two in five workers lack sufficient savings to withstand a sudden loss of wages. Additionally, many nonprofit agencies will face financial disruption. Postponed or canceled fundraising events lead to a loss of funding that community-based organizations depend on. This support is crucial to their regular program work and operations and will put serious pressure on nonprofit operating budgets. United Way has already postponed one fundraising event itself and may have to postpone others.

United Way is committed to serving the needs of Greater New Bedford through the Help United Fund. You can join United Way’s efforts by making a donation to the Help United Fund by texting HELPUNITED to 313131 or visiting unitedwayofgnb.org.

During this uncertain time, United Way of Greater New Bedford’s Hunger Commission will continue operations to ensure local pantries and shelters are receiving food for an uptick in client needs and Mass 211, a United Way program is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to provide consumer help during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This free, confidential hotline provides information on programs and services year-round, but will also now serve as a comprehensive source of information and referrals related to COVID-19 in the coming weeks. Anyone looking for information on prevention, symptoms, treatment, testing, or what to do if returning from travel should call Mass 211 by simply dialing 2-1-1 from a landline or cell phone.

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