The Hopkinton Emergency Fund (HEF) is currently seeking donations from residents this holiday season to help serve Hopkinton residents who are in need of emergency financial assistance. But why does this need exist, and why are donations so important? The reasons can be found by looking at why the HEF was formed roughly 18 months ago.
The Town of Hopkinton, over the past several years, has become a more diverse community in terms of residential income. The Town is home to residents who earn well into the six-figure income range as well as families that receive subsidies of some sort to support themselves and who may need additional assistance in times of unexpected emergencies.
Efforts to support these residents in need existed for some time prior to the HEF’s incorporation. Community providers such as Hopkinton Youth and Family Service, Project Just Because, the Senior Center and St. Vincent de Paul would meet regularly to offer whatever help they could, but it wasn’t always enough.
In particular, the need for financial support kept increasing. State laws prohibit local government organizations from soliciting funds, so while assistance was often available in the way of food, clothing, gift cards, furniture and more, support for large expenses would go unmet.
This need was made all the more significant during the COVID-19 pandemic, as social-economic gaps were expanding throughout Massachusetts and the country. This led to plans for a local non-profit that could raise money and provide financial support for Hopkinton residents.
"The Hopkinton Emergency Fund is one of the lesser-known charities in town, but our mission is vitally important: working with our partners to serve those in need by providing financial assistance," said Fundraising and Outreach Co-Chair Jennifer Blake. "Many may be unaware of the number of individuals and families in Hopkinton who are experiencing hardships due to illness, job loss, or any number of unforeseen circumstances. The HEF is able to step in and assist by providing payment of rent, utility bills or car repairs, for example. Sometimes that is just what these folks need to get back on their feet. I have always believed that charity begins at home, and what can be better than helping our neighbors in need?"
Other communities had emergency funds set up to fill this critical need, and the groundwork for the Hopkinton Emergency Fund was laid in 2020 when a group of concerned and dedicated community members obtained 501(c)(3) status for the newly-formed organization. Bylaws were established and an initial fundraising appeal was started in March of 2021.
Those receiving grants are Hopkinton residents who meet the referral criteria of needing to meet basic yet critical financial needs, such as paying rent, utilities, medical expenses, car repairs, transportation or more. The Fund receives anonymous referrals from its partner organizations, and if approved, the grant is disbursed via check directly to the vendor, or to the community partner for a client.
While donations were secured from businesses and private citizens, it was clear that a steady influx of new donations would be needed to support the program. This holiday season, the HEF is hoping to reach residents who may not understand what the organization is, or who may not realize how critical donations are to the HEF’s long-term sustainability.
Donations can be made in numerous ways. Those wishing to make a donation can visit the HEF website here, and can also donate directly through the donation page. Donations may also be made via check, at: Hopkinton Emergency Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 44, Hopkinton, MA 01748.