Friday, May 8, 2020
The Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. is adapting its services to meet the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the opening of an emergency drop-in child care center for essential workers.
Most of GLCAC’s programs are fully operational by phone and email through at least May 18. In addition, GLCAC has:
· Moved its weekly food pantry outside and implemented new health and safety precautions.
· Shifted staff to assist in high-volume programs like fuel assistance, housing and unemployment claims.
· Created an online donation registry through Walmart to help families with basic needs like diapers.
· Compiled an online community resource page.
“During this unprecedented time, GLCAC has quickly adapted to meet the changing needs of families in Greater Lawrence,’’ said GLCAC Executive Director Evelyn Friedman. “We are working closely with local organizations and the city of Lawrence to ensure families have access to basic needs like food, child care, health care and fuel assistance.’’
While child care centers must be closed through June 29, the state has designated a limited number for essential workers. GLCAC recently opened an emergency child care center at its Head Start facility at 305 Essex St., Lawrence.
Space is available only for the children of workers deemed essential by the state. This includes those in health care, public health, human services, law enforcement, public safety and first-responder fields. The center is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Essential workers in need of this free service must call GLCAC at 978-681-4959 by 2 p.m. to make a reservation for the following day.
“We are thrilled to be offering this service for workers in our community who are putting themselves out on the front line to serve and protect us,’’ Friedman said.
Most of GLCAC’s programs are fully operational by phone and email. Paperwork can be dropped off in the drop box outside GLCAC’s 305 Essex St. offices.
These include fuel assistance, WIC, health care navigator, immigration, tax preparation, consumer protection, and housing assistance.
GLCAC has shifted staff to assist high-demand programs. For example, the child care culinary staff is helping with the food pantry, which is now serving about 275 people each week. VITA tax preparers and workforce development staff are assisting clients file unemployment claims and obtain stimulus checks; customer service center employees are helping clients with housing; and WIC has delivered food to home-bound individuals.
“No one’s family’s situation is the same so we are working with clients on an individual basis to help them overcome these financial challenges,’’ Friedman said.
For a list of programs and contact information or to view the community resource page, visit www.glcac.org.
To make a reservation for the emergency drop-in child care center, call 978-681-4959.
To donate through the Walmart registry, visit https://tinyurl.com/y7kxa5wm.
GLCAC is a multi-faceted social services agency that assists 32,648 individuals through a range of programs including early childhood education, fuel assistance, WIC nutrition assistance, immigration services, lead poisoning prevention, child abuse prevention, English-language lessons, and consumer protection.