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  • Writer's pictureNewton Neighbors

Eblast, May 19, 2020

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Dear Neighbors,

Hopeful signs of spring are all around us, both on the streets of Newton and also evident in the generosity of neighbors helping neighbors!

  1. Neighbor to Neighbor Solidarity: We want to take a moment to acknowledge the many, many neighbors who so quickly and generously respond to requests week after week for everything from groceries and pet supplies to furniture and volunteer driving help. Our community would not be what it is without you.

  2. Masks: Lynda Cowin Nijensohn and the Metrowest Sewing Group ( continue to amaze us with their commitment to ensuring anyone who has a mask needs it! This amazing group has sewn and donated over 1000 masks to local agencies to distribute to clients and staff, including the Newton Housing Authority, Arabic Baptist Church Food Pantry, Centre Street Food Pantry, and the BC and Newton Police.

  3. Feeding families: With tremendous support from a committed group of NNHN volunteers and the West Suburban YMCA, we have helped 31 families get regular food deliveries over the past several weeks from the Centre Street Food Pantry, Newton Food Pantry, VFW Post 440 mobile food bank, and Grab n Go meal program.

  4. Boredom Buster Kits: Our small business initiative continues to be a huge success. To date, 149 senior kits and 71 child kits have been purchased by our community and gifted through our retail partners.

For those of you looking to support neighbors this week, here are a few ways you can help:

  1. Check on your neighbors: As we all make our way outdoors to catch some sun, now is a good time to check in on your neighbors, particularly seniors, in a socially distant manner. Use a card like this to leave a note offering support to a neighbor:

  2. Purchase a boredom buster care package: Support some of your favorite local retailers as well as neighbors in need of comfort and entertainment - gift a care package with educational materials & boredom busters for a Newton senior or child in need! NNHN is partnering with the Newton Housing Authority and other partners to distribute “boredom buster” entertainment care packages to residents living in Newton public housing - particularly seniors who have been self-isolating and young children (ages 5 and under) who need to be entertained and are not yet in school. Participating local businesses include Newtonville Books, Henry Bear's Park, Greentail Table, The Paper Mouse and Hipstitch! Care packages are $25 or $50, and can be purchased online by visiting the Care Packages page on the Welcoming Newton site, then by clicking on the link to the local business website. Your purchase will be delivered directly into the hands of a Newton senior or child living in Newton public housing. Join us to support our community and send a message of hope to a Newton resident in need!

  3. Help bring meals to Chelsea: The wonderful folks at the Seaport Hotel in downtown Boston are cooking fresh meals for food pantries in the area. For the next few weeks on Wednesday and Thursday mornings the meals are going to the Salvation Army Chelsea. We need help transporting the meals from the Seaport Hotel to the Salvation Army Chelsea. If you are interested in helping and you have an minivan, large SUV, or truck, please click the link to sign up. Thank you!!

A few important things to share this week:

  1. HOUSING RELIEF FUND: The City of Newton has launched a COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program to assist those Newton households who are facing a loss of income due to COVID-19 and are now struggling to pay housing costs. The $500,000 program is using federal Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds to provide temporary assistance for housing costs. The funding assistance will cover 70% of an eligible household’s monthly rent for up to three months. The assistance has a monthly cap of $2,500 per household, or $7,500 per household, for three months. Newton renters who are experiencing a reduced income as a direct result of COVID-19 and earn 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) at the time their application is submitted are encouraged to apply. (For example, a family of four at the 80% AMI level has an annual income of $96,250.) Households currently receiving rental assistance (e.g. Public Housing tenants, RAFT, Section 8, MRVP or other locally administered support) are also eligible for this program. A special category of Newton homeowners, those with deed-restricted properties, are also eligible to apply provided they meet the same eligibility criteria as renters. (The deed restriction must be recorded with the Registry of Deeds.) Interested? Contact Metro West at (preferred method) or 617-923-3505 x5 to begin the application process. The application deadline is Wednesday, June 3, 2020 and the lottery will be held June 10, 2020. The details of this program, including program guidelines, can also be found at Information in Vietnamese & Arabic (thanks to amazing NNHN translators!)

  2. KNOW A SENIOR WHO NEEDS HELP AND CANNOT LEAVE THEIR HOME? Call the Senior Center at 617 796-1660 for seniors needing help with social services, delivered lunches, or other deliveries.

Theodore D. Mann Newton Mayor’s Community Breakfast: from Mayor Fuller -- Each spring, we come together and break bread to renew our commitment to this good City in a setting of reflection and spiritual unity. While we cannot meet in person this year, on Wednesday, May 27th at 8:30 a.m., we will gather virtually in a Zoom meeting for this longstanding tradition. There is no registration fee but technology limits us to 1,000 participants so please register early at This year the online registration form invites voluntary contributions to benefit a variety of nonprofit organizations, particularly those who are making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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