Column: We all get by with a little help from our friends  

January 21, 2024

By Charles Spofford 

The Community Chest 

Nearly 60 years ago, the Beatles famously sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Today, those lyrics couldn’t be more poignant and relevant. With economic uncertainty on the rise, we all lean on our friends and communities from time to time for a little help mentally, spiritually, physically and even financially.  

In fact, our Community Chest has been a galvanizer and accelerator of such support services for the past 75 years.  

Through a targeted fund called the When In Need (WIN) Fund, the Community Chest supports unexpected or emergency living expenses for Concord and Carlisle families. In 2022-2023, the WIN Fund distributed over $17,000, supporting 20 families for emergency needs such as rent, medical costs, car repairs, and utility bills, and to assist the new emergency shelter in Concord.  

“A Concord senior who was struggling financially needed some necessary car repairs and completed as much as he could on his own. However, some of it needed to be done by a professional mechanic, which he could not afford,” said Jennifer Ubaldino, executive director of the Community Chest. “Support from the WIN Fund helped make this possible.” 

Another example of the WIN Fund in action was through a partnership with First Parish in Concord and volunteers from the PALS program. The trio collected close to 500 fall and winter coats for children and adults living at the Concord emergency shelter. Throughout 2023, the Community Chest has worked with Making Opportunities Count, the agency managing the shelter, acting as a hub for community donations and critical resources to support the shelter’s approximately 300 residents.  

Recent examples of WIN Fund support include: 

  • Making a mortgage payment for a Concord resident who is currently in treatment for cancer and unable to work due to their illness.  
  • Paying a phone bill to maintain service for a client in dire need of assistance due to domestic violence and mental health issues. 
  • Purchasing a new mattress and box spring for a 79-year-old resident on a low, fixed income. 

The Community Chest is here to make our communities stronger and a welcoming place for all residents. It is through consistent collaboration that we can both not only identify but then accelerate support for imminent or urgent needs. We are proud of our tradition of caring and our responsiveness to the ever-changing needs of our citizens and businesses in times of crisis.  

For more information on how to get involved, visit the or email