VIM Distributes $50,500 in Cash Assistance for Childcare to 65 Patients and their Families

When the coronavirus pandemic shut down area businesses, many of VIM’s patients lost their jobs.  Now that our economy is slowly re-opening, there are more opportunities for employment.  

But how can patients who are parents return to work without a safe place for their children to go?  And how can they pay for childcare after months without a paycheck? 

VIM has found an innovative way to be part of the solution.  Through generous grants provided by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, the Fish Family Foundation, the Shapiro Foundation, and a number of other donors, VIM is in the process of distributing $50,500 in cash assistance for childcare to 65 patients and their families.   

“VIM’s patients, many of whom are ineligible for government assistance, have been among the hardest hit financially by the coronavirus,” explains Ilana Steinhauer, FNP, VIM’s Executive Director.  “By providing funding to assist with childcare, we’re helping to remove a significant barrier to meaningful employment while opening the doors for safe, fun and healthy activities for patients’ children.  We’re extremely grateful to our granting institutions for making this program possible.” 

Patients–socially-distancing–come to VIM to pick up their childcare assistance checks, plus donated toys and games for their kids to enjoy.

Through this effort, VIM is distributing cash grants to each family.  It is up to the families themselves to select the childcare option that works best for them. 

Samuel Garcia Pulido, the son of a VIM patient, is enjoying a summer of art and science at the Flying Cloud Institute thanks to a childcare assistance grant from VIM.

In addition, many of VIM’s volunteers, donors and staff are getting in on the effort by purchasing toys, games, puzzles, art supplies and other fun and educational materials to give to the children.   Readers who are interested in donating money or new toys may call VIM at 413-528-4014 or email mshalaby@vimberkshires.org.

An office full of toys, puzzles and games, donated by VIM volunteers, donors and staff, ready for distribution.

“Many of our patients are single parents,” notes Natalia DeRuzzio, VIM’s Patient Services Manager, who has been collecting and processing the applications for the cash grants. 

“Access to affordable childcare is absolutely essential for patients to return to work and prepare financially for typical, seasonal unemployment in the winter months or a second phase of quarantining, if there is a new wave of the pandemic.   These grants won’t solve all of their problems, but they will help families recover a little faster.” 

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