(WHDH)– Amid a difficult holiday season unlike any other in recent memory, the owners of 7NEWS are offering a helping hand to those in need.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley has been helping hourly employees pay for food, rent, and utilities.
“Ninety percent of hospitality workers are unemployed right now, so we’ve launched a special fund on their behalf,” said CEO Bob Giannino, who added that more than 160,000 Massachusetts families are at risk of falling behind on housing payments.
The organization works with more than 100 agencies to reach those who are most vulnerable.
Now, during the holiday season, the Ansin Foundation is giving a gift so that they can keep on giving.
WHDH General Manager Jimmy Rogers presented the United Way with a check on behalf of the Channel 7 owners for $50,000 on Wednesday.
“Families are really struggling right now, they’re having a tough year so the Ansin Foundation is really proud to partner with these tremendous organizations that are making an immediate difference in people’s lives,” Rogers said.
Always standing proud in his work uniform, Brahim Laamari was a front desk agent at a local hotel. But, like so many in the hospitality industry, he was laid off from his job when the COVID-19 crisis hit.
Now, the United Way is helping him and his two children.
“I’m unable to pay for my rent and also to survive,” he said. “Without their help … I would be evicted already from my apartment and I don’t know exactly if I’d be talking to you from a shelter.”
The Ansin family also made a donation to the Combined Jewish Philanthropies– money that will help even more families in need.
“Due to this funding from CJP, which has been an absolute godsend, his program was able to go virtual basically almost instantaneously,” Barbara Cheteoui said of her son Avi’s day program.
Avi is living with developmental delays and mobility issues and without proper stimulation, his mother said he will regress.
“The funding really allowed us to pivot quickly,” said Sara Freedman, of Jewish Family and Children’s Services. “We had programming up in running in a couple of weeks.”
In light of the pandemic, CJP is focused on helping people in the most basic ways like providing meals and paying heating bills.
It is the kind of important work that Ed Ansin — the late owner of 7NEWS — has been supporting for years.
Ansin passed away in July and his children have continued his philanthropy ever since.
“Mr. Ansin passing away is a tremendous loss but a gift like this illustrates the legacy he has left and the way his family is continuing to make a huge impact here in Boston,” Rabbi Marc Baker said.
(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)