E-newsletter • Winter/Spring 2021
Welcome to Lifelines!
Welcome to our second edition of Lifelines, a periodic e-newsletter that will provide you with updates on the Major Crisis Relief Fund (MCRF) and timely community issues. We hope you enjoy!
MCRF Reaches More Milestones During Turbulent Times
- We surpassed $1 million raised, most of it related to COVID-19 challenges.
- We responded to 1,800 individuals and 700 families who requested financial aid.
- We distributed more than $700,000 to individuals and families and will continue providing much-needed support throughout 2021.
Funds have provided critical aid for rent, utilities, transportation, medical needs, and more. Looking ahead, our pandemic response will continue—and we are prepared for weather emergencies as well.
Making Waves In The News
MCRF continues to be featured in the media. For recent news coverage, read about us in the Cape Cod Times and listen to the Sunday Journal radio interview with MCRF Managing Director Judy Walden Scarafile and Needy Fund Executive Director Betsey Sethares.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
As thousands of Cape and Island residents continue to be hit hard by the pandemic, we are chronicling many of their stories, many of which are highlighted on our website. Among those stories, you can read about local workers whose seasonal jobs have been compromised since the onset of COVID-19 and about essential workers who face significant challenges with childcare while schools are closed.
Some of our vignettes involve local workers whose seasonal jobs have been compromised since the onset of COVID-19. Others involve the struggles of essential workers who face significant challenges with childcare while schools are closed. Below are three such examples:
- When Seasonal Work is Suspended
Seasonal workers in industries such as hospitality and landscaping typically save for a rainy day in case a season doesn’t yield adequate profits. But with the coronavirus, the rainy days turned into a rainy year for a Mid-Cape family: Just as the wife was laid off from her hotel job, the husband’s work as a landscaper dried up. With the husband unable to find additional work, the wife couldn’t even look for work because she fell ill with a high-risk pregnancy, and she wasn’t eligible for unemployment. To hopefully ease the financial burden, a family member moved in, but he was also laid off. So the family of three—soon to be four—had to survive on the modest savings in the husband’s bank account. But with that nest egg quickly evaporating, they felt they were out of options. Then they heard about MCRF, a program of the Needy Fund. They explained their circumstances to one of the fund’s professional counselors and received enough financial aid to help them pay their rent and remain in their home. In addition, the Needy Fund tapped into its network of partner agencies on the Cape to provide services that helped them find employment…just before a healthy baby arrived!
- When Essential Workers and Childcare Collide
Many local residents who lost jobs loss due to shutdowns during the pandemic have been somewhat sustained by unemployment assistance. Many other “essential workers,” including healthcare professionals and first-responders, have had to juggle their jobs and childcare needs. Such was the case with an Island family that worked at stressful jobs during the day but also needed care for their two young children at a time when many day centers and schools were closed. Fortunately, they found a caretaker and were able to pay the necessary expenses for a while. However, challenges with the logistics of care, combined with pandemic-induced stress, proved to be more than they could handle. So the mother decided to take a short leave to be with her kids, but she was only allowed a small percentage of her pay during this time. The mother then returned to work knowing her kids would be OK. However, the bills were piling up, anxiety was rising—and she reached out to MCRF. We helped with the childcare bills so the couple could continue to work without losing their much-needed provider.
Other parts of the country have been ravaged by hurricanes and wildfires, but we on the Cape and Islands have been very lucky. The Nor’easter at the beginning of the month spared us, and we also escaped the wrath of a tornado and even an earthquake toward the end of last year. We’re half-way through this winter, but forecasters are pointing to the likelihood of at least one wicked blizzard! The point is, in these uncertain times, whether it’s a public health crisis or a major storm, MCRF, working closely with the Needy Fund and its intake staff, will be ready to respond.
Giving, Receiving, And Connecting
- Help us by contributing to our ongoing efforts.
- Those requesting aid, please reach out to us via our website.
- Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
- Help spread the word! Forward this newsletter to friends who may be interested in receiving future editions. Or sign up here.
Stay well, stay safe, and stay warm!