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Tufts Public Health

Helping Hands for the Community

“In 2020, we’ve already distributed two million pounds of food to 100,000 individuals, and the year’s not over,” said Lindsay Smythe of the Mystic Valley YMCA/Malden YMCA. The difference compared to 2019 “is staggering.” Photo: iStock
Monday, November 30, 2020

Patty Reilly has steered Tufts financial aid through the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the depths of the Great Recession in 2009. “I thought I’d seen it all, but this year has been the hardest,” said the associate dean of financial aid for the university’s undergraduate students. “There is huge unanticipated need, particularly among international and undocumented students for whom federal aid is not available.”

Students need housing because travel restrictions mean they can’t get home. Parents are out of work and can’t make the expected contribution to their child’s education. A laptop dies and if a student can’t afford a new one, they can’t take classes remotely. At the same time, they may be worried about their own health and their family’s. “I know several students who have lost parents to COVID-19,” Reilly said.

With Tufts anticipating a shortfall of $5 million in aid resources, the 2020 Tufts Community Appeal (TCA) has made financial aid one of two priorities for contributions. “People are coming together to help each other. As hard as it’s been, it’s heartwarming to see,” said Reilly.

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