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January 2024 Helping Neighbors Newsletter

This January, especially after honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our hearts are filled with gratitude for the collective strength and resilience that defines our mutual-aid community. Inspired by Dr. King, we are reminded of the profound impact that collective action and community support can have on creating positive change. 

Now we look forward to another year of building bridges, forging connections, fostering and celebrating our community of compassion. In that spirit, we will be sharing more insights into the backend work that underpins our mutual aid efforts and celebrate the contributions of partners and team members whose efforts are helping us to build our organization. 

Introducing Espenshade and Salesforce

Meet Bill Heinemann and Linda Espenshade Heinemann of Espenshade Nonprofit Consulting, the brains behind our ongoing efforts to incorporate Salesforce (a really organized and smart customer relationship-management tool), into our operations. 

Espenshade Nonprofit Consulting specializes in helping nonprofit organizations with their client and donor databases, using a version of Salesforce that is free for nonprofits. They are working closely with Newton Neighbors team members to configure the system to best meet our needs, pulling in data from various spreadsheets and the email system, and training Salesforce users. The results save time, improve accuracy, and help us better focus on serving our community. 

We are so grateful for all you have done for Newton Neighbors, Bill and Linda! 

Call for Volunteers: Food Pantry Delivery

We are looking for volunteers who can help deliver groceries from our local food pantries to our neighbors who are unable to get to the pantries on their own.

Our schedule is:

  • Tuesdays from Centre Street Food Pantry. Pickup at 12 or 12:15 before the pantry opens to the public.

  • Wednesdays from Newton Food Pantry. Scheduled pickups between 12:15 - 2:45.

It usually takes about an hour of your time and makes a big difference to so many in our community! Sign up here:

Call for Volunteers: Freedge 

Newton Neighbors continues to support the Freedge, Newton Food Pantry’s community refrigerator and pantry initiative. Located in the parking lot of Central Cleaners at 420 Watertown Street in Nonantum, the Freedge is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers free food and personal-care items to anyone in need. 

Newton Neighbors oversees volunteers on Thursdays and has volunteer opportunities throughout the day. Activities include picking up food from business partners and bringing it to the Freedge, shopping for items, and cleaning and maintaining the Freedge. 


Our link for signups for January and February is here.

Need Help Paying Your Winter Heating Bill?

Winter and freezing temperatures are finally here! The Massachusetts home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) helps eligible households pay a portion of their winter heating bills. No matter what type of heating source you have, and even if the cost of heat is included in your rent, LIHEAP might be able to help.

It’s not too late to apply! Contact Newton Human Services at 617-796-1420 or apply online.

February 3: Lunar New Year Celebration

Saturday, February 3, 1pm - 5pm 

American Legion Post 440, 295 California Street, Newton

The Newton Housing Authority is hosting a Lunar New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 3, 2024, to welcome the Year of the Dragon! Below please find more information about the event:

The event will include traditional dance, music instrument performance, Dragon Dance, samples of traditional food, and much more! Please note that sign-ups are required for the event to help us manage the flow of the day. RSVP to Sergei Pahirya at or call/text 617-581-3127 by January 26.

January 27 - 28: Newton Community Pride WinterFest 

Saturday and Sunday, January 27 - 28 Check website for times and locations

Winterfest events include: 

  • Saturday, 10am: Guided trail walk in Cold Spring Park

  • Saturday, 5:30pm: Evening of free soup, music, and art at the Hyde Community Center

  • Sunday, 11am: Elsa, ice sculpture, and winter market on Newton Centre Green

  • Sunday, 3pm: Dance party at the New Art Center!

Our next newsletter, coming out in early February, will provide more information and links to community events. In the meantime, stay warm! Thank you neighbors, as always, for your unwavering support.

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