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  • Writer's pictureNewton Neighbors

Eblast, March 23, 2020

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

For Facebook

In the twelve days since this group was launched it has grown to over 2000 members and we have many wonderful accomplishments to share. Our online form, available in 10 languages has been filled out by over 500 neighbors! Requests for support and offers of support continue to come in daily through this Google form and also through our website. As moderators, we are working hard to match neighbors to each other to fulfill these requests for support. In 12 days, many of you have purchased and delivered bags of groceries to each other, shared financial resources with neighbors and answered requests for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, thermometers and emergency medication for neighbors like Great Grandma Gertrude! Some of you worked to pack over 100 bags for the Newton Food Pantry and twelve of you are being trained today to deliver groceries to individuals living in public housing. Over 100 of you who completed our google form and expressed interest in working with seniors were emailed last week to work with Springwell to deliver meals to seniors (we hope many of you signed up!). And let us not forget the youngest members of our community who created over 100 inspirational messages to slip into pantry bags this week. Beyond our work in Newton, this week we worked with community members in Everett to establish a similar group. And we are now working with students in the Tufts Department of Community Health to organize calls to seniors on behalf of Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), a terrific organization working to support Boston families experiencing unprecedented need. To say we have had a busy week, would be an understatement. As we look to the week ahead we want to remind you of a few things. The situation on the ground is ever evolving and we are hoping to continue serving our neighbors as safely as we can. The City now has a Newton COVID-19 Care Fund (if you can please donate generously to this!). The link is here: https://unitedwaymassbay.org/covid-19/newton-covid-19-care-fund/.) Because this fund is now available, we will turn our focus away from providing financial support to families through donations and continue to support families in other ways like providing groceries. We will also continue to work with local organizations to enhance their volunteer capacity. In closing, we thank you for opening your hearts to your neighbors and will end by sharing these kind words from someone who received support this week: “[I am writing to explain why] [the impact of] your work and contributions from people who gave and continue giving their support is so pivotal. It is not only actual material impact of being able to buy shampoo and soap, and gas for the car. It is also A HUGE emotional impact of knowing there is someone here who is simply willing to help, to say yes, not to send me away to another place with closed door. It is a power of love that transcends all. I am just so grateful that you organized this group, grateful for your help, grateful for donations, for care, for people who say yes.”


For Mail Chimp


Dear Neighbors,


It has been less than two weeks since Newton Neighbors Helping Newton Neighbors Facebook group was first launched. The idea for this group came out of an interest in supporting children and families receiving free or reduced school lunches in the Newton Public System and was intended to serve as a platform to support these families in the event of school closure. In the twelve days since it was launched it has grown into so much more than that! In our first week we gained 1000 members on the Facebook group. Today we have over 2000 members. With your involvement and support so many wonderful things have happened and we are writing today to share some of those accomplishments.


Ten days ago we created an online form to collect information on neighbors looking for support and neighbors able to offer this support and translated it into a total of 10 languages. Over 500 of you have completed this form in less than 2 weeks! Requests for support and offers of support continue to come in daily through this Google form and also through our website. As coordinators, we are working hard to match neighbors to each other to fulfill these requests for support. In 12 days, many of you have purchased and delivered bags of groceries to each other, shared financial resources with neighbors and answered requests for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, thermometers and emergency medication for neighbors like Great Grandma Gertrude through our Facebook page.


Your generosity does not end here. Beyond the impact on individual families with your help, we are continuing to collaborate with organizations in Newton and beyond to build our collective power to make a difference. Several of you recently volunteered your time to pack over 100 bags for the Newton Food Pantry and 12 of you are being trained today to deliver groceries to individuals living in public housing. Over 100 of you who completed our google form and expressed interest in working with seniors were emailed last week to work with Springwell to deliver meals to seniors (we hope many of you signed up!). And let us not forget the youngest members of our community who worked hard to create over 100 heartfelt cards and inspirational messages to slip into pantry bags this week. As a reminder food pantry staff are working over time right now to support our community. Monetary donations are very helpful for them. If you can please consider donating here:



If you have ongoing needs for food and other support, the best place to start is the existing amazing institutions in our city and state. A frequently-updated list of resources is hosted by Welcoming Newton at https://www.welcomingnewton.org/covid-19-response - please check there and our community-built list of financial and other support here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-qhSbpDobaTyg8oRnlHmAky3IgXefqfCmJJf6xikNlM/edit?usp=sharing. If you need support from the community, please fill out https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScQNTahca3LS8GkS0mht7d3JAVsAc5Apy2H_LJLiGntlwTVOw/ and we will do our best to connect you with resources and support. You can also post individual requests in the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/newtonneighborshelping


We have also been hard at work brainstorming how best to support local businesses. Beyond the enthusiastic and effusive dialogue on the Facebook group about our favorite places to shop and dine in Newton, we now have a growing list of information on local businesses. Going forward we hope to connect to these businesses and support them in setting up opportunities like gift card mechanisms. We are grateful to the high school student volunteers who have gathered so much info on how we can support Newton’s small businesses.


Finally in times like this it is imperative that we focus outward as well and in this spirit we are also eager to share resources and knowledge with our neighboring communities. We have helped community members in Natick, Malden and Everett establish similar groups. And just yesterday, we emailed over 200 students in the Tufts Department of Community Health to volunteer to make calls to seniors on behalf of Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), a terrific organization working to support Boston families. We intend to continue working with SURJ to determine how to share our resources with our neighbors in Boston.


In closing, as we look to the week ahead we want to remind you of a few things. The City now has a Newton COVID-19 Care Fund (if you can please donate generously to this!). The link is here: https://unitedwaymassbay.org/covid-19/newton-covid-19-care-fund/.) Because this fund is now available, we will turn our focus away from providing financial support to families through donations and continue to support families in other ways like providing groceries. We will also continue to work with local organizations to enhance their volunteer capacity.


To say we have had a busy week, would be an understatement. So instead, we thank you for opening your hearts to your neighbors and will end by sharing these kind words from someone who received support this week: “[I am writing to explain why] [the impact of] your work and contributions from people who gave and continue giving their support is so pivotal. It is not only actual material impact of being able to buy shampoo and soap, and gas for the car. It is also A HUGE emotional impact of knowing there is someone here who is simply willing to help, to say yes, not to send me away to another place with closed door. It is a power of love that transcends all. I am just so grateful that you organized this group, grateful for your help, grateful for donations, for care, for people who say yes.”


Best,


Martha Heinemann Bixby, Ranjani Paradise, Shalini Tendulkar, and Shrida Vyas

Newton Neighbors Helping Newton Neighbors Coordinators



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