Maintaining an updated list of community resources is no small feat, so we're leaving it to others who have already devoted much time and energy to the task. Some favorites we've found:
2014 Summer Program Community Resource Guide: contains a wide range of programs at free or low cost, ranging from food pantries to basketball, from reading support to swimming.
WorcesterResources.org: It's easy to remember and provides a comprehensive directory of services from child care to fuel assistance, health care to homelessness services. Not a bad place to start.
Worcester Department of Public Health: city-specific information on seasonal flu and West Nile, public health nursing and emergency preparedness.
www.Mass211.org from the United Way: Within the Commonwealth there are literally thousands of phone numbers for health and social service programs, government offices, community organizations, volunteer referral centers, donation clearinghouses, educational systems and neighborhood groups. You or your patient can call 211 and get help finding just the right number.
Mass in Motion: this state DPH-sponsored website provides good links to resources for your patients who want to "eat better" and "move more" to maintain good health. Pretty comprehensive, with info on how to tell if you're getting enough exercise, ideas for adding physical activity gradually, recommendations for exercising within other physical limitations, and more.
Worcester County Local Food Guide: farmer’s markets, local food vendors and restaurants using locally grown food
Multi-service agencies that can help your patients with their social service needs:
Worcester Community Action Council: helps with heat assistance, food access, tax preparation, employment searches, and a wide range of other types of assistance. Within the WCAC is also the Community Connections Coalition, a parent-led group which updates and publishes a resource guide for families, available as paper booklets for $1 each.
YWCA and YMCA offer programs for families, adults, and children in healthy eating and exercise. The YWCA also offers assistance with child care, career services, transitional housing and access to domestic violence awareness, assistance and prevention programs. The YMCA offers programs in men's health as well as for active adults and teens.
Elder Services can help with many questions and needs related to the elderly population. Another resource for this age group is 1-800-AGE-INFO, a phone number with a corresponding website that has numerous useful links.
Resources in the North County
Montachusett Opportunity Council - MOCINC.org. This is the big community action agency for the region.
Community Health Connections, Inc. - chcfhc.org. This is the federally qualified health center organization for the north county region. It hosts the Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency Program.
Cleghorn Neighborhood Center - http://www.cleghorncenter.org/. A major resource for Latinos since the 1960s.
Spanish American Center - http://www.spanishamericancenter.org/. Also around since the 1960s, a key organization for the Latino communities.
Metta Health Center at the Lowell Community Health Center: provides access to eastern and western medicine, from primary care and mental health to meditation and acupuncture, designed for the Southeast Asian population.