May 17

Springwell appreciates the support of Weston CARES Fund during the pandemic

photo of Weston CARES Fund Steering Committee members

Inspired by the passage of the Federal CARES Act, local residents and members of First Parish Church in Weston created the Weston CARES Fund in April of 2020 to make a difference locally, thoughtfully, and immediately during the pandemic. Phone calls to the minister revealed that many parishioners wanted their government CARES check to go directly to where it was needed.  Madelaine Kenyon, Head of Outreach at First Parish spearheaded a committee that has raised close to $200,000 and helped 83 families and 32 non-profits to date.

“To focus our help locally, Weston CARES Fund has supported Weston and the towns that border Weston which are Newton, Waltham, Wellesley, Natick, Wayland and Lincoln. The committee raised funds mainly by word of mouth. People were eager to donate and help their fellow community members. 100% of donations have assisted people facing hardship in Weston and the abutting towns.  We expanded beyond First Parish and included community leaders from the Rotary Club and the Women’s Community League on the steering committee. We worked to create a very simple application process for both individuals and non-profits to access funding. The committee has met weekly for the past year to make sure that decisions were made, and funds granted quickly,” notes Madelaine Kenyon.

The committee has done tremendous outreach to form relationships with nonprofits and heighten awareness of the available funding. Springwell was the fortunate beneficiary of a grant from Weston CARES to support its Elder Independence Fund. Kenyon volunteered as a home delivered meals driver early in the pandemic when Springwell had to quickly pivot to volunteer drivers. “I was so impressed with the fabulous job Springwell was doing providing meals to seniors daily that I reached out to see if the organization could use any special funding for seniors facing COVID related challenges.”

Beth Shultz, Springwell’s Director of Development shares Springwell’s gratitude to Weston CARES for their assistance: “The Weston Cares Fund has been so much help. Since July, we have made 13 grants of individual assistance to adults who range in age from 61 to 94, and who live in Newton, Waltham, and Weston. Funds have been used to purchase a wide range of small items that have made a big difference for the older adults assisted, including emergency groceries, cleaning supplies, a wheelchair cushion, a GPS bracelet for a senior with dementia, the partial payment of a pharmacy bill, and some small furniture items.”

As more people are vaccinated and COVID19 risks are declining, the Weston CARES Fund is wrapping up their work. The difference this quickly formed grass roots organization has made in the lives of so many people impacted by pandemic challenges is immeasurable.