Bright Spots of 2020: Some highlights from a historic year

It’s the end of a tough year, and La Colaborativa is still here serving record numbers of community members with rapidly expanding services and supports. We absolutely could not have accomplished any of this without the unwavering support of so many partners, allies, donors, and volunteers who helped us ensure no one is turned away during the pandemic.

  • Our Whatever it Takes campaign has raised $500,000+ in new revenue since November 1, from more than 1,500 individual donors. This funding will keep our food pantry doors open and advocacy for COVID-impacted families going strong in 2021.
  • Our food pantry has evolved from “pop-up” distributions from front porches, to a full-time operation with daily distributions, dedicated warehouse space, staff, and partnerships. We are serving 8,000+ households weekly between walk-up and delivery distributions.
  • We’ve distributed more than $622,000 in direct cash assistance to families that have faced financial crisis during the pandemic. No-strings-attached cash assistance has kept families housed and able to afford medications and other basic necessities.
  • Since March, we’ve run a Rapid Response Pandemic Initiative, which has helped thousands of local families survive by accessing legal aid and advocacy, bilingual case management, and public benefits (like rental assistance, SNAP benefits, and unemployment).
  • La Colaborativa was named a 2020 Neighborhood Builder by Bank of America, earning us $200,000 in new funding and leadership development support. We were one of two organizations statewide to receive the honor this year.
  • La Colaborativa created 250+ new jobs for community members, at a time when Chelsea’s unemployment rate rose to 24%. Workers have supported our food pantry and community outreach initiatives, including more than 200 local youth hired for paid internships to keep them connected, engaged in training, and working towards long-term goals.
  • Hundreds of new volunteers have donated their time to support our rapidly expanding work at the food pantry and via online volunteer opportunities supporting English learners, job seekers, and youth in need of mentorship.
  • We fully transitioned English and Citizenship classes to a virtual setting and helped close the digital divide in our community by establishing a laptop lending library.
  • Our headquarters at 318 Broadway are being fully renovated after extensive damage occurred while the food pantry was running from this location. The labor and materials for renovations have all been donated by our local Carpenters’ and Painters’ Unions and the Home Depot.
  • We added five new full-time staff to our team, providing direct services and supports to our community members via case management, food security programs, consumer and tenant advocacy, and workforce development for youth and adults.
  • We changed our name, opened our doors wider to new geographic areas, and refreshed our logo – all to bring our organization into better alignment with our work on the ground supporting Latinx immigrant families throughout Massachusetts.

There are no words to express how grateful we are to everyone who has supported La Colaborativa in one way or another this year. These accomplishments are proof that we are unstoppable when we stand together.

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