November 12, 2015 | CONCORD
By Faith Bade
This article is one in a series about the organizations supported by the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest.
Imagine that your son suddenly moves back home with his two children, a four-month old baby and three-year-old. Their mother has become addicted to drugs and this young family is devastated. You are now a grandmother helping to raise two very young children. All of you need help.
Imagine you are a widow with a young son. Recent medical issues mean you can no longer work. You have to get medical treatments during the day and your son has nowhere to go that is safe and welcoming. You both need help.
Imagine you are a young mother who left a violent marriage. Your ex-husband kidnaps your child and drives her across the country. You are so afraid and you need help.
Imagine you are a young woman, with a good job and enough money to support yourself. Yet, you steal a beautiful item from a boutique shelf and are caught. You need help.
No one ever plans on needing help. It happens. Life does throw curve balls.
The Concord-Carlisle Community Chest has been here to help since 1947. We believe that the Community Chest is uniquely positioned to help identify, evaluate and address the most pressing human service needs in our community. We provide significant financial support to nonprofits, town agencies, individuals and local projects and we offer events to strengthen our community. In 2014-2015 alone, The Chest granted over $560,000 to local programs: 25% to Food, Health, & Safety; 20% to Elder Services; 19% to Mental & Physical Disabilities; 18% to Education for Children & Adults, and 18% to Legal Aid & Scholarships.
Through grants awarded from the Community Chest, and funded by your generous donations, the:
- Concord Area Preschool Association provides scholarships for Concord and Carlisle families who could not otherwise afford the cost of preschool.
- Concord Children’s Center gives partial tuition to approximately 20 children whose families live and work in Concord and Carlisle.
- Concord Recreation Department provides scholarship support to approximately 70 Concord and Carlisle families annually. These families can then afford to attend summer camp.
- Metro West Legal Services offers free civil legal services to poor, elderly, and disabled residents of Concord and Carlisle.
- Communities for Restorative Justice offers an alternative to the traditional judicial system, thus increasing the capacity of direct services.
So, what happens to some of those in need? Because of your generosity, and through grants awarded by the Community Chest, the Concord Children’s Center provided care for the four-month-old and three-year-old, identified learning delays, accessed support services, and helped stabilize a challenging situation. The Concord Recreation Department provided the widowed mother with a scholarship of almost $4,000 covering a whole summer of a supervised, safe, and fun camp program for her son. A lawyer from Metro West Legal Services was in court each day for a week and the ex-husband returned the child to our community.
And the young woman caught stealing? She found herself in a restorative circle with a police officer, the owner of the boutique, and a facilitator. She learned how hard it is to run a small business and spoke about what was happening in her own life. She worked with her Communities for Restorative Justice facilitator, entered therapy, and made changes in her life and relationships. After fulfilling obligations to the boutique owner, she returned for the closing circle to apologize, celebrate, and begin a new phase of life.
These neighbors received help because of the Community Chest – and because of you! Support neighbors helping neighbors by contributing to our annual campaign, which ends on April 30. Visit www.cccommunitychest.org or call 978-369-5250 to donate or learn more about our work and the programs we support.
Faith Bade is a Board Member of the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest and a 16-year resident of Concord.