April 13, 2020
Lee Phenner


Delays in distribution to 1,000 community action agencies nationwide jeopardize the health and well-being of tens of millions of vulnerable low income residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic

(BOSTON, MA) – On March 27th, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump. The $2.3 trillion stimulus package includes $1 billion for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program, which enables ABCD and 1,000 community action agencies nationwide to serve our most vulnerable low income residents—people who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus.

Today, these CAAs and the at-risk children, elders, people with disabilities, and hardworking families are still waiting for the money.

“I urge U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to expedite the release of the $1 billion in CSBG funding aimed at shoring up our neighbors who are in dire need,” said John J. Drew, President/CEO of ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development).

“ABCD is actively working on getting the CARES Act funding for Boston, as well as the 1,000 CAAs across the country. Part of the $2.3 trillion stimulus package agreed to by President Trump and the U.S. Congress weeks ago, the funding will increase our ability to do more for our highly susceptible neighbors who are suffering,” said Drew.

CSBG funds support organizations like ABCD that focus on reducing poverty, revitalizing low-income communities, and assisting low-income families in becoming self-sufficient. ABCD and all CAAs provide services and activities addressing employment, education, housing, nutrition, and emergency services to combat the central causes of poverty.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought Massachusetts, the country, and the world to a shocking halt. As of April 12th, it had claimed the lives of more than 2,500 Massachusetts residents and more than 100,000 worldwide. It continues to ravage individuals and families, especially people of color who are often susceptible because of underlying conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

“We are on the ground, at the frontlines, distributing food, delivering oil, providing emergency services and critical supports. People are hungry. They’re isolated. Many are homeless. If they haven’t lost their job, they’re working for minimum wage at a job that exposes them to the public, increasing their chances of contracting a potentially fatal disease or of infecting others,” said Drew.

ABCD remains committed to the Greater Boston community and the many facets of recovery, from the health of individuals and families to the economic renewal of cities, states, and the nation. For more about ABCD’s coronavirus emergency programs and services, visit bostonabcd.org/coronavirus.

Releasing CARES Act CSBG funds will ensure ABCD’s continued impact. Here is a snapshot of recent efforts.

Food and Essentials: Six ABCD neighborhood centers are working with clients by phone and email, and five of the six operate food pantries. From March 18th to April 9th, ABCD provided 1,056 items to food-insecure families.

Fuel Assistance: Winter temperatures persist, and ABCD’s Energy Services department is receiving more than 60 calls a day for fuel assistance. We have responded to people without heat and to others requesting oil deliveries, emergency heating repairs, and updates on their application status.

Head Start & Children’s Services: ABCD Head Start is offering comprehensive services to our families. On April 1st – 2nd the team distributed food, milk, formula and diapers to families enrolled in our partner programs, distributing groceries to 165 families. All told since March 18th, we have distributed food to 701 families.

Teachers are reaching out by phone, videoconferencing, sending pre-recorded videos and educational materials and activities.

Family Advocates are reaching out to families to check in, assess needs, make referrals and respond to specific needs. They are also hosting virtual family engagement coffee hours and videoconferencing.

Health and Nutrition Services Managers are in touch with and providing resources to families with chronic health issues, food insecurity, and related matters.

Intervention Support Specialists and Mental Health Clinicians are connecting with families of children with Individualized Family Service Plans, Individualized Education Plans, and those that need social emotional support to provide parents with support and individualized activities to do at home to support healthy development.


ABCD Programs, Services and Contact Information during the Coronavirus-related State of Emergency

Those in need of emergency assistance living in Boston, Malden, Medford, Everett, and several surrounding towns can visit bostonabcd.org/coronavirus or contact the following ABCD programs and services directly:

Food Pantries:  617.348.6329 | fieldoperations@bostonabcd.org

Community Coordination: 617348.6329 | fieldoperations@bostonabcd.org

Neighborhood Service Centers: Six ABCD neighborhood centers will take phone calls from clients in need of emergency assistance:

Allston/Brighton:  617.903.3640
East Boston: 617.567.8857
Mattapan: 617.298.2045
Mystic Valley (Malden, Medford, Everett): 781.321.2501
Parker Hill/Fenway: 617.445.6000
Roxbury/North Dorchester: 617.442.5900

Fuel Assistance: Residents of Boston, Brookline or Newton: 617-348-6599
Residents of Malden, Medford, Everett, Winchester, Melrose, Woburn or Stoneham: 617-519-4317

Head Start & Children’s Services: 617.348.6272  | headstart@bostonabcd.org
Note:  ABCD Head Start Centers will be closed until government officials have determined it safe to open.

Child Care Choices of Boston:  617-542-5437 |   childcarechoicesofboston@bostonabcd.org

Tax Assistance:  617.348.6583  | fieldoperations@bostonabcd.org

SummerWorks: 617.348.6548  | summerworksinfo@bostonabcd.org

GENERAL INFORMATION: 617.348.6000  | info@bostonabcd.org


About ABCD

ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) is a nonprofit community action agency that provides low income residents in the Boston and Mystic Valley areas with the tools, support, and resources they need to transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Each year, we serve more than 100,000 individuals, elders and families through a broad range of innovative initiatives as well as long-established, proven programs and services. For more than 50 years, ABCD has been deeply rooted in each neighborhood we serve, empowering individuals and families and supporting them in their quest to live with dignity and achieve their highest potential. For more, please visit bostonabcd.org.