Providing much-needed aid to those most impacted by COVID-19

March 22, 2021

Many of us saw the work we do change during the pandemic and MassCOSH’s Immigrant Worker Center is no exception. As many of its members lost work and were excluded from critical government benefits, we mobilized to provide much-needed aid.

This past winter, the Worker Center applied for and won a $12,000 grant from the Boston Public Health Commission’s Office of Public Health Preparedness to provide immediate assistance to low-wage and immigrant workers. These funds were used to create 150 emergency aid bags that contained pantry staples, vouchers for fresh produce, multi-lingual educational and training materials focused on how to avoid exposure to SARS-CoV-2, and personal protective equipment for workers, medical-grade face masks, and pocket-sized hand sanitizer. The bags also included MassCOSH’s new water bottles with multi-lingual information printed on them to educate workers on how to prevent heat-related illness on the job.

In addition, a portion of the grant was used to hold a virtual health and safety training for almost 200 child care providers, 10 of which received HEPA air filters.  Child care settings have consistently had the highest number of COVID-19 clusters, with 308 active clusters as of this week.  Many child care providers work in spaces with poor ventilation and a HEPA air purifier can make their space much safer.

On February 22, the Worker Center distributed 100 of the bags in East Boston, taking just 30 minutes to run out of their supply due to high need in the community. On February 26, the remaining 50 bags were distributed in Dorchester to worker center members and a very appreciative public.