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Galbraiths make major gift to UpValley Family Centers in support of COVID-19 relief

Galbraiths make major gift to UpValley Family Centers in support of COVID-19 relief

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The current staff of the UpValley Family Centers

The current staff of the UpValley Family Centers.

To support the Upvalley community as it weathers the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Alan and Sarah Galbraith have made a major gift to the UpValley Family Centers.

As the continuing shelter-at-home order keeps schools closed and local businesses shuttered, many local families are struggling to stay afloat. Those who work in essential jobs face tremendous stress as they try to balance the demands of home schooling and childcare with the demands – and health risks – of their jobs. At the same time, the many people who have been laid off, or who have seen their work hours drastically reduced, now struggle with deep uncertainty as they’re left without a source of income to keep a roof over their heads or put food on the table.

With so many lives upended, and no firm end in sight for this crisis quite yet, the Galbraiths said they felt called to act. “The urgent needs of our less fortunate St. Helena families are foremost in our minds,” Alan Galbraith said. “They will be facing many challenges, financial and otherwise, from the prolonged COVID-19 crisis. These families turn to the UpValley Family Centers for help. After years of support and close observation, Sarah and I understand the Centers’ commitment and capability to serve struggling families. Because of the crisis, and the strain on the Centers’ resources, we decided to make a significant contribution to the Centers. But far more than our special contribution is needed. Our profound hope is that others, in a position to do so, will do the same.”

With a commitment to serving Upvalley families and individuals both in times of opportunity and in times of need, UpValley Family Centers is providing support and relief services to households who have been affected by the pandemic and its economic fallout. In addition to helping those who qualify apply for unemployment and other government benefits, the Family Centers also is distributing vital emergency aid and gift cards so that families who do not qualify for government services, and who have no access to other forms of support, can pay their rent and purchase groceries.

In the meantime, the Family Centers staff are adjusting its regular programming to continue serving clients even as the shelter-at-home order remains in effect. These services include parenting resources and early learning tools; guided referrals to counseling, health care, and other safety net services; mentorship for teens; case management services; tax preparation assistance; immigration services; and more.

“As this crisis evolves, we recognize that families’ needs will shift,” said Jenny Ocon, executive director at the UpValley Family Centers. “We also know, from our experience in the aftermath of recent wildfires, that recovery will be a long-term and difficult process. UpValley Family Centers is committed to being here every step of the way, making sure all households facing challenges can depend on us, no matter their need, until they’re back on their feet. Community members like the Galbraiths make it possible for us to do this important work, and I am deeply grateful for their support. Their generosity will make a transformative difference both now, as local families seek relief, and over time, as households start to rebuild their lives.”

The mission of the UpValley Family Centers is to provide guidance, support, and resources in the home, in the community, and for the individual, so that everyone can achieve a better life. They envision that through healthy relationships and networks of support, all people will be safe, valued, and prepared to create the future they want for themselves, their families, and their community. Donations of any size are gratefully accepted in support of the Family Centers’ community-responsive services for households impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Editor’s Note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to all online readers. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit

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