COVID-19 PROGRAMMING UPDATES
As your Community Action agency, we work to create access and opportunity for our most vulnerable residents, and build communities in which all people have the opportunity to thrive.
Now, just as we have for the last 55 years, we will uphold that commitment to our community. We recognize that COVID-19 will likely have the hardest impact on those we serve, and are creating flexible service delivery plans, informed by best practice recommendations from the CDC, World Health Organization, and Department of Public Health, to protect the safety of our participants and our 350 employees while continuing to provide critical services in the most effective and socially-conscious means possible.
Community Action will continue to operate to fullest extent possible without compromising the health and safety of our staff and our participants. Here are the latest program updates as of this morning (these are subject to change based on federal and state guidance and requirements):
HEAD START & EARLY LEARNING PROGRAMS:
ALL Head Start & Early Learning Programs are closed for on-site child care services until May 4th, but will continue to offer other services to the fullest extent possible. As this closure creates significant hardship for many of our families, we are thinking flexibly and remain in contact with families to combat isolation and strategize how we can provide services in other ways.
Our Fuel Assistance Program is open, but not accepting walk-in or in-person appointments. Applications can be taken over the phone. We are continuing to certify applications, authorize deliveries, and pay vendors. 413-774-2310
All Energy Efficiency Programs have suspended all home visits until further notice.
HEATING REPAIR PROGRAM:
Our Heating Repair Program is processing participants by phone only. When necessary and safe, we will perform in-home assessments of heating systems for emergency situations. 413-376-1115
THE COMMUNITY ACTION FAMILY CENTER:
Our Family Center is closed for walk-in appointments, playgroups, and group programming, but staff are available for individual and family support and are working to connect participants to resources by phone. We are not accepting free store donations at this time. Diaper distribution will be arranged by phone. 413-475-1555.
VITA FREE TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAM:
VITA Tax Assistance clinics have been suspended. Please see our VITA website for information on how to file your taxes online.
We are following the guidance from our funding source, USDA. If you are concerned about your WIC appointment for any reason, please call us for assistance. We will do our best to help all families navigate services. 413-376-1160
COMMUNITY RESOURCES & ADVOCACY
Our Resource Advocates will continue to offer resources and referral by phone. 413-475-1570
YOUTH & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Please call for our latest program updates: 413-774-7028
HARMON PERSONNEL SERVICES
Please call for the latest program updates: 413-774-7847
THE CENTER FOR SELF-RELIANCE FOOD PANTRIES:
Instead of operating as ‘choice’ pantries, CSR will be preparing pre-made bags for sidewalk pick up on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 11:00-4:00PM. We will do our best to get food to all those that need it. 413-773-5029
If you are unsure if your program is affected, or if you need to reschedule your appointment for any reason, please contact the appropriate Community Action program directly or call our agency line at 413-774-2318.
During this time, we have increased sanitation protocols at our sites. With that, we ask that if you or someone in your household is ill that you stay home. Please call us to cancel your appointment and we will work with you to reschedule and help you access the resources you need.
Furthermore, we are encouraging all Community Action staff and visitors to:
Wash hands upon arrival
Respect 3 feet of personal space and avoid direct physical contact
Observe appropriate hygiene precautions
In observance of directives from the Commonwealth and the CDC, we have made the disappointing yet responsible decision to cancel in-person group trainings. Thus far, this includes the Community Action Annual Meeting, Head Start and Early Learning Programs all-staff meeting, HS&ELP self-assessment meeting on March 31st, HS & ELP Touchpoints booster trainings on March 16thband 23rd, and the Youth and Workforce Development Programs’ Kiss N Tell Ball. We look forward to rescheduling these events when it is safe to do so.
With every challenge comes opportunity. The pandemic creates an opportunity for us to mobilize and come together to protect our most vulnerable neighbors. Community Action will continue to be a resource for all and strategize ways to affect the most good. We ask that you do the same.
If you know a family that is struggling, please visit our web-based online resource directory, Look4Help or call us at 413-774-2318.
In this time of social distancing and disconnection, we will continue to bridge connection and build community. We know that the families we serve are deeply concerned about how COVID-19 may affect their ability to receive basic needs and we are taking a proactive stance to ensure that we can continue to provide services to those who need them while prioritizing the safety of our participants and staff.
We will continue to update you as our plan develops. In the meantime, take care of yourself and each other.