Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan's Emergency Fund received a record-breaking $35,000 in donations within a five-week span this winter, including a late-breaking $650 contribution from members of the Melrose Boot Camp on Saturday.
That brings the fund's balance to $47,000, which will be distributed to Melrose residents in need of assistance with anything from fuel to mortgage payments.
“Members of the Boot Camp work hard to make themselves healthier, and I am pleased that they are reaching out to make our community healthier as a whole,” said Dolan in a press release. “This is a great way to cap off our winter donation drive.”
The Emergency Fund has been helping needy residents for the past decade, but has become even more important during recent waves of layoffs occurring among people in every economic bracket, Dolan said.
“We have people who never needed help in the past who need it now,” he said.
The city-run fund distributed $40,000 last year in the form of winter jackets, fuel, and gift cards to local supermarkets. For residents in need of serious help, the city arranges for a Red Cross employee to meet with them free of charge.
The purpose of the fund is to give one-time assistance to families or individuals going through a rough patch or rebuilding after a fire or other emergency, Dolan said. Cash is never given out.
“We try to not only help people but put them on the right track,” he said.
Dolan attributed the overwhelming number of donations to the fund's unique ability to impact fellow residents.
“People like to see money go directly to their neighbors,” he said.
To make a donation, send a check to Melrose Emergency Fund, Mayor’s Office, 562 Main St., Melrose, MA 02176 or bring it directly to the Mayor’s Office on the second floor of City Hall. Checks should be made out to the City of Melrose, with “Melrose Emergency Fund” in the memo line. For more information about the fund, call 781-979-4440.