WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The coronavirus has hit Waterbury hard. As of March 25, 33 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the city. That makes the jobs of the city’s first responders and hospital workers even more significant these days.
And now, the community is stepping up to provide help for those who’ve been on the front lines of this virus trying to help so many others.
At the Greater Waterbury YMCA, you’ll find a special child care program that hosts children of the city’s first responders and hospital workers…for free. It’s something workers at The Y take great pride in.
“We’re able to make sure that your child is in a safe environment while you’re at work on the front lines,” said Jim O’Rourke, CEO of the Greater Waterbury YMCA.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve got this kind of cooperation in the community to take care of our children of our health care workers, our first responders,” said Mayor Neil O’Leary. “We need them on the street. We need them in the hospitals.”
As part of the community effort to support health care workers and first responders, two organizations are creating a special fund to help nonprofits in the Waterbury and Litchfield Hills areas that are going above and beyond when it comes to helping people during the coronavirus.
The United Way of Greater Waterbury and The Connecticut Community Foundation have each started the special fund with infusions of $50,000. They’re trying to collect more. They’re accepting donations from the public on their websites. They’re also asking for other nonprofits out there to apply for some of the funding.
The goal is to support those doing good things for others; those organizations that are often the unsung heroes and backbones of many communities.
“To make sure people — especially those most vulnerable — are taken care of,” said Kara Summa, of The United Way of Greater Waterbury.
“We’re seeing not only the health needs that we’re all hearing about on the news but also a lot of really human needs,” said Julie Loughran, President & CEO of the Connecticut Community Foundation.
Jim O’Rourke, who heads the Greater Waterbury YMCA and the Emergency Care Daycare program, said any contribution would go a long way towards their goal of sending a message to those heroes working hard to protect the public from this coronavirus.
“It would ensure that we don’t turn anybody away,” he said. “When the call comes from a first responder, a 911 dispatcher, a hospital worker, we’re able to say yes.”