A Year of Response & Recovery
With challenge came opportunity.
Late into 2019, we were preparing to welcome the new year with great optimism. Our trajectory of growth was bringing new opportunities for individuals to reach economic stability, strengthen their families, and engage in meaningful community-building. And then the world shutdown.
The pandemic may have dictated what we couldn't do, but we focused instead on what we could do. As we share this past year of work with you, we reflect on the challenges and the opportunities that strengthened our work, clients and community in ways we hadn't imagined.
What We Did
& Met Basic Needs
clients received special deliveries of food and basic supplies through MOC’s COVID Dispatch - a centralized hub that warehoused bulk amounts of shelf stable food, diapers & other infant care items, medicine, and personal hygiene products that MOC was able to source early in the pandemic from our generous vendor agreements.
clients received Wellness Checks by MOC staff during the early stages of the pandemic. We focused on physical & mental health, food & basic necessities, and anything else our clients needed during the crisis.
Collaborated with the Community
"MOC has also helped by providing support whenever I needed it. Even if I didn’t need much, just having them offer to help was huge. I appreciate everything they have done and continue to do for my family." -Jess L., MOC Client
In the middle of the pandemic, the needs of our community were so overwhelming and immediate that joining together with community partners was the only way to reach the many people who needed us. Many thanks to the hard work of our community partners to support this goal: Spanish American Center, Catholic Charities, Loaves & Fishes, Fitchburg Salvation Army, Gardner CAC and Winchendon CAC.
“We are proud to partner with MOC, our network of critical service agencies, donors and volunteers to provide direct relief to people in need. We continue to be inspired by the generosity and goodwill of our community and remain committed to do all we can to support our most vulnerable friends and neighbors during this unprecedented public health crisis.”
-Kory Eng, President, United Way of North Central MA, April 2020
Committed to Our Staff
100% of the positions throughout the agency were retained during the Covid-19 pandemic. Within weeks, we shifted 280+ staff members to remote employment so they could remain safe.
At a time when it would be understandable to focus on nothing more than their own wellbeing, our staff showed remarkable commitment. Drivers refused to miss a meal delivery, teachers sang solos to students on laptops, & case managers made endless calls. We are grateful & proud of the dedication our team showed during this past year.
"It’s important that we aren’t contributing to the problem by laying off hundreds of employees. That’s not what MOC is here to do. We help move people toward economic stability, not the other way around."
-Kevin Reed, Executive Director, Making Opportunity Count, April 2020
And They Committed to You
Supported Children & Families
Undoubtedly, the most difficult decision of this past year was to temporarily close our child care facilities during the early months of the pandemic. Affordable and safe childcare is essential to our region. During that time, we remained engaged with all the families in our care and shifted to virtual programming by providing online instruction, playgroups, socialization and projects to keep children actively learning. While we were fortunate to quickly adopt this strategy, we were overjoyed when mandates allowed us to re-open in late June. The biggest lesson we learned? Our classrooms are filled with amazing, resilient little people. They smiled under their masks, sang songs during extra hand-washings, and embraced distance-play. We're proud to have been there for hundreds of North Central families amid the pandemic.
educational activities conducted virtually across our children, youth and family service programs
"Thank you all for being here for us as we endured a different season. Glad to be in a program that thinks of the hearts, minds, and well-being of each family."
- Melissa H., Child Care & Head Start Parent
Promised to Do More
In early 2020, MOC held a series of community wide discussions around race, inclusion, and equity. These dynamic forums provided essential information and direction for our organization's 2021-2023 strategic plan. And then the world changed as we watched horrific injustices against people of color. While many of the issues discussed are still relevant right now, the reality is that many new issues have come to the forefront, inequity has grown, and people of color need everyone to work toward disrupting the systems that continue to perpetuate disparities. We are committed to doing exactly that.
This past year we added a Chief Equity Officer role to our leadership team to lead our focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives. We changed how we analyze data, and applied a race/equity lens to uncover disparities in the wellbeing of traditionally marginalized populations in our communities. We partnered with our local minority-led civil rights organization to facilitate peaceful BLM marches to engage the community in productive activism. And together, we continue to spearhead initiatives around youth empowerment and racial economic inequality. We are dedicated to creating a better future for our minority community and will carry this mission forward each day.
Our Impact in Numbers
women, infants and children improved their health and nutrition through the North Central WIC program
children improved their cognitive, social, and emotional development through Child Care & Head Start
parents were able to maintain employment, become employed, or enroll in training because their children were cared for and safe
elders increased access to nutritious food and information through Elder Services
youth increased job skills & earnings though Summer Youth Works
parents struggling with substance use disorders participated in home visiting interventions to maintain sobriety and improve their home environments for their children
households received free tax preparation through VITA. A total of $697,644 federal refunds came back to the region.
homeless mothers and children were moved into stable housing through Transitions at Devens
homes became more energy efficient through the Weatherization, Utility Conservation, and/or Heating System Repair/Replacement programs
youth received mental health assessments through our Family Resource Center
individuals received case management and information & referrals through the Fitchburg Family Resource Center.
adults improved their parenting skills through parent education classes & support groups
youth were engaged in neighborhood-based afterschool enrichment
hours were volunteered by Head Start parents
individuals received case management and support from CARE AIDS programs
families increased knowledge about childhood lead safety
residents were able to remain stably housed during the pandemic through financial assistance from local, state and federal sources
residents avoided a utility shut-off during the pandemic through financial assistance from local, state and federal sources
Making Opportunity Count serves
30 cities and towns that span the North Central Massachusetts region.
of clients live at or below 100% poverty
of clients live at or below 200% poverty
Client Race / Ethnicity