Wellington Community Foundation Serves As An Extension Of Donors’ Generosity During Pandemic

The foundation teamed up with Friends of Foster Children to provide gift cards. (Front row) WCF Director Maggie Zeller, WCF Secretary Jim Sackett and WCF Vice Chair Maria Becker; (back row) FFC Program Director Jane Richardson, FFC Executive Director Martha Putnam, WCF Chair Tom Wenham and WCF Director Mickey Smith.

When the local community faced the daunting challenges of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the Wellington Community Foundation took quick action to help the most vulnerable members of the community when they needed it the most.

“We recognize there is a great responsibility now more than ever to support those in need throughout Wellington, and due to the unwavering support of our donors, supporters and volunteers, we are in a position to help our most vulnerable seniors, children and veterans,” said Tom Wenham, chair of the Wellington Community Foundation.

The foundation doubled down on its focus to support the Wellington community and have a positive impact on neighbors in need.

For example, the foundation teamed up with Wellington Councilman Michael Napoleone and Great Charity Challenge Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin to support their “Grab-n-Go Pantry” set up for the hundreds of frontline healthcare workers on the campus of Wellington Regional Medical Center, so that after their shift, they didn’t have to stop at the grocery store to get those much-needed items their families require.

“With many other frontline heroes helping fight the pandemic right here in our community — including PBSO deputies and Palm Beach County firefighters — the foundation has also been coordinating efforts with Wellington Community Service Director Paulette Edwards to provide much-needed meals during their extended, ever-increasing shifts,” Wenham said.

In one such instance, the foundation teamed up with Agliolio Italian Bistro & Bar in Wellington to support these crucial first responders.

As part of its ongoing commitment to the senior citizen participants of Wellington Cares, the foundation has worked to help ensure the successful efforts of Diane Gutman and her army of volunteers during the pandemic as they continue to care for Wellington’s most fragile residents by ordering and delivering groceries and medications, providing protective masks, teaching seniors how to use digital connections, Zoom check-ins and much more.

“We have also partnered with Executive Director Martha Putnam of Friends of Foster Children to locate families in Wellington who are fostering children during this difficult time,” Wenham said. “We will be providing much-needed groceries and essential items to 23 families that include 37 children.”

Friends of Foster Children is committed to replacing the negative stereotypes of the child welfare system with the positive possibilities for foster children.

“We are uniquely poised to be a family success center at the heart of ‘fostering happy childhoods.’ We strive to provide comprehensive advocacy for kinship, foster and adoptive caregivers. In addition to the services we offer, we provide opportunities that enrich the whole family’s life,” Putnam said.

In Wellington, 23 families have opened their homes to foster children and nine of the homes have taken in multiple children — sibling groups of two to four children.

“These families have made a commitment to make the world a better place, right where they live,” Putnam said. “Many of the families our agency supports have been impacted by COVID-19. We have seen an increase in calls requesting additional assistance, and even calls from families that were very self-sufficient before and now find themselves in need of guidance to the services they are eligible for. When we are able to partner with groups such as the Wellington Community Foundation, we are able to put tangible help directly into the hands of the families that need it the most. Thanks to the Wellington Community Foundation, 23 families will open their blessing in the form of $150 gift card that will be able to help pay for groceries, purchase household cleaning products or even clothes for foster children quickly growing out of old ones.”

To support the Wellington Community Foundation in its efforts, or to learn more about this local nonprofit, visit www.wellingtoncommunityfoundation.org.