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African American Family


Celebrating Unity
Celebrating Unity in the Face of the Lawrence Gas Disaster

On September 13, 2018 the lives of hundreds of families were uprooted as gas fires and explosions began blazing up throughout the greater Lawrence community. Homes were destroyed and lives changed forever, but in this time of great strife, many members of the Lawrence community took on the call of duty and rose up to meet the enormous challenge this tragedy presented. Our own Lawrence Family Resource Center was among those supporting the residents impacted by the fires in the Merrimack Valley during and after the disaster.

The Lawrence FRC deployed an emergency response team the Sunday after the gas explosions to the Arlington School, which was designated as the emergency response site. The FRC staff worked with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross, and provided families with emotional support and information on where to get more help. The FRC team helped individuals fill out applications for disaster relief checks, assessed and provided resource and referral information to individuals with other needs, distributed $100 to $500 gift cards donated by the Essex County Community Foundation to families, provided families with basic needs such as food, diapers, formula, clothing, and blankets, and more. It was a true community response.

Learn more about the entire community's efforts to come together in the face of disaster in this video from the Essex County Community Foundation.

About Family Resource Centers

Massachusetts Family Resource Centers (FRCs) are a statewide network of community-based providers offering multi-cultural parenting programs, support groups, early childhood services, information and referral resources and education for families whose children range in age from birth to 18 years of age. A Family Resource Center is located in each of the 14 Massachusetts counties to provide easy access to information and assistance related to health care, safety, employment training, education and peer support. In each of our communities, our goal is to support families to strengthen their bonds, connect to others, and engage in their community. Our core values are: RESPECT, TRUST, SAFETY, WELLNESS, CARING, CONNECTIVITY, and EDUCATION.

FRCs are supported through funding from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).

If you are interested in learning more about the FRCs, the work we do, the people we serve, and the impact we have had on families across the state, please read our executive summary. You can also learn about the struggles one young adult faced, and the help that the Family Resource Center in Springfield can provide kids and young adults with similar experiences in this story and video on MassLive’s website

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Family Resource Centers are located all around Massachusetts and offer a variety of services to help families like yours. Find one near you that offers the services you looking for.


I feel welcomed. I feel comfortable. It is a hard thing to feel comfortable in your own skin and you can do that in the group.
Teen involved with an FRC
“I am so grateful and I cannot say enough about how much NFI and (Jen) personally have helped me. Whenever I start to lose it, which is usually several times a day, I close my ... eyes and envision myself sitting and talking to (Jen) and Audrey and Gabriel and the rest of (Jen’s) team and the energy at NFI, and it really calms me.”
— Kathleen, a parent, talking about the NFI Family Resource Center in Lowell
...We connected the family to a Spanish speaking church. One of the church members provided a room to stay for the family. Another church member committed to driving the father to and from the Center as we searched for housing options, and employment options...
FRC staff person