LYNN — The New American Association of Massachusetts has received a $20,000 grant from the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Boston Foundation.
The grant is part of more than $500,000 distributed to partner organizations across the state from the Massachusetts Migrant Families Relief Fund, which was created last month “to address the growing humanitarian crisis faced by migrants seeking asylum in the Commonwealth and to support community-based organizations meeting their needs,” according to a press release.
“United Way has been an absolutely incredible partner for years now,” New American Association of Massachusetts Executive Director Natasha Soolkin said. “That’s just who they are… Be there and provide support where it’s needed.
Soolkin said that she is happy to see United Way continue to support NAAM in the same way it did during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These grants came out with excellent timing,” Soolkin said. “We are dealing with a post-COVID world, which is a challenging world to deal with for everyone, and for people who are new in this country especially.”
Soolkin noted that given the increasing amount of refugees, especially from countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine, the money will go to the populations with the greatest needs at the moment.
“You have migrant crises. You have wars in the world that brought us people with huge needs and desperate needs,” Soolkin said. “This money is intended to go directly to support these people.”
According to Soolkin, NAAM hosts a variety of programs and services that help people adjust to living in the United States, including job training, programs for youth and children, providing access to English classes, and assisting with the immigration process.
Soolkin also noted that helping people navigate health care is another major part of the work that the association does.
“People come to us from very different parts of the world,” Soolkin said. “We’re trying to bring them on board with the system we have in this country.”
Soolkin said financial support for people in emergencies will be a major use of the grant funding from United Way. She said such emergencies could include unexpected housing and medical costs, among other expenses.
“We will come to the rescue, wherever the need is,” Soolkin said.
Grants like the one NAAM received are just one of the important resources that it relies on for its day-to-day work, Soolkin added.
“We don’t do anything on our own,” Soolkin said. “I can’t even tell you how grateful we are for this kind of grant… It’s another way to support people in huge need.”