NoteWorthy – 4/12/20
AROUND THE VALLEY
Home Health Foundation Responds to Thank-You Letters
This week, Karen Gomes, president and CEO of the Lawrence-based Home Health Foundation, issued a letter responding to the numerous thank-you notes sent to caregivers at High Pointe House, their hospice and palliative care residence, and Home Health Foundation’s family of agencies: Circle Home, Hallmark Health VNA, Home Health VNA, Merrimack Valley Hospice and York Hospital Hospice.
In the letter, she noted that there are many ways for supporters to assist their efforts:
- Gifts made to their Grateful Patient and Families Program will be directed to their COVID-19 Relief Fund for philanthropic outreach designed to help support health care workers.
- Messages of appreciation will be shared with staff, as well as the community, through the Home Health Foundation newsletter, “Journeys.”
- Donations of Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE. A list of current needs may be found on their website.
- Donations of handmade cloth masks. Instructions on how to create a cloth mask may be found on their website.
Pentucket Bank Increases Community Contributions Amid COVID-19
On Monday, Pentucket Bank announced the second round of “Phase One” donations as part of the bank’s strategy to increase charitable giving by 20% in 2020 over the $400,000 that the bank donated in 2019.
The bank contacted the following organizations on Friday, April 3, to let them know they will be receiving $2,500 in unrestricted funds: The Boys & Girls Club of Haverhill, The Boys & Girls Club of Salem and Family Services of the Merrimack Valley. As previously announced, the bank is committed to placing these meaningful funds in the hands of several agencies that are continuing to provide critical services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “Phase One” of the bank’s giving strategy includes 10 local organizations and a total of $25,000; $2,500 for each of them. The first four recipients of the donations were: Sarah’s Place Adult Day Health; Isaiah 58; Home Health Foundation and Emmaus Inc.
For more information on the ways in which Pentucket Bank is responding to customers and community amid the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.PentucketBank.com/COVID-19.
Firehouse Responds to COVID-19 Crisis
This week, John Moynihan, the executive director of the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, issued a statement that it has canceled all programming through August 2020.
If you purchased tickets to an event during this time frame, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.
Moynihan noted that they have canceled over 100 events including full theater productions, music concerts, dance events, documentary screenings and youth productions and classes — a loss of income in excess of $300,000. The decision impacts more than 200 professional or budding artists.
He noted that while they have streamlined and reduced their expenses to the best of their ability, fixed monthly expenses still land at $40,000. If you are in a position to do so, please consider donating to their Phoenix Campaign. Please visit our website for additional information.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell Seeks Help
Just a few weeks ago, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell families closed on two more homes in Lowell. The Reh and Un families became the newest Habitat homeowners and now have a home to keep their family safe and healthy.
Currently, the Habitat Lowell office, construction site and ReStore are closed. That is not stopping the staff from reaching out to their current and future families to assist them. Habitat Lowell is asking for support to purchase building material needed to resume renovating a home in Billerica for a mother and her three children as well as performing critical home repairs for seniors and veterans. Donations may be made online at LowellHabitat.org. For further information, email them at email@example.com.
Project LEARN Launches Fund
To support Lowell children and families, Project LEARN has launched the COVID-19 Student Supplies Fund to help get resources directly into the hands of Lowell Public School students.
Your support will directly provide at-home school supplies for Lowell Public School students who need it the most. Funds will be used to purchase items for the most requested items including:
- Pencil sharpeners
- Sidewalk chalk
- Glue sticks
To donate, click here. >>>
UMass Lowell Announces $500,000 in Summer Scholarships
In an effort to help offset the financial hardships that many are experiencing right now, UMass Lowell is allocating half a million dollars in education scholarships for new and continuing undergraduate students who enroll for the 2020 summer semester.
“Everyone has been affected by the sudden global health and economic changes caused by COVID-19 and we hope these scholarships will help minimize the impact for students pursing education at UMass Lowell,” said Steven Tello, vice provost for graduate, online and professional studies.
Tello said these new UML Summer Scholarships are being offered in addition to traditional financial aid programs such as federal grants and student loans. He also encouraged students to apply for the new aid soon by visiting UMass Lowell’s Summer Financial Aid page, as early applications will be given priority consideration.
“UMass Lowell is nationally recognized for quality with more than 20 years of experience in online education,” Tello said. “While there are a lot of new unknowns in our daily lives, UMass Lowell’s online and virtual classroom courses provide an affordable opportunity for students to move their education forward.”
To continue its support of social distancing practices, all UMass Lowell summer courses will be offered online or through a virtual classroom model. More information on courses being offered is available at https://gps.uml.edu.
For additional information about online education at UMass Lowell, connect with the Division of Graduate, Online and Professional Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org, (978) 934-2474 or (800) 480-3190.
Haverhill Chamber Creates New Program: #HaverhillLocal
The COVID-19 crisis is wreaking havoc on Main Street small businesses across the United States.
The hardest hit are local face-to-face Main Street services — restaurants, bars, coffee shops, barbershops, hair salons, auto repair shops, dry cleaners and others that are living on the brink. These entities, usually sole proprietorships or businesses with fewer than 25, 10 or even five employees are running out of cash or already broke.
The Greater Haverhill Chamber has set up a new fund to drive desperately needed cash into these local mom and pops. This fund will allow the chamber to offset any purchases from participating businesses with a 25% discount. Please consider giving — then go shopping!
Check out participating businesses here: HaverhillChamber.com.
Lazarus House Food Pantry Resolves to Stay Open As Need Grows
The staggering level of job losses, which has disproportionately impacted low-income Americans who work in service industries, has increased the resolve of the Lazarus House food pantry staff to remain open.
“People come by and say, ‘Thank you for being open, thank you for this food, thank you for staying here for us,’” said Jeff Hassel, executive director. “There is a lot of appreciation from our guests that we have not closed up and gone home.”
In the first month of the COVID-19 outbreak, the pantry has provided food to as many as 800 families a week.
“We’re still doing a significant distribution even though people have been told to stay home,” said Ken Campbell, who runs St. Martha’s Food Pantry on Hampshire Street in Lawrence, noting these people have put their fears aside for much needed food.
“We have skyrocketing unemployment, and many people who have not come to food pantries before will come now,” he said.
Keeping the pantry open is worrisome for the staff because of the potential exposure to the coronavirus from hundreds of people within a matter of hours, and then bringing it home to their families.
The stakes are high, especially since there is a COVID-19 surge expected this coming week in Lawrence.
“I am worried about being able to keep this open,” said Hassel. “If someone in the food pantry gets sick, then the rest of the staff has to go home and quarantine.”
The staff has made what they call “loving modifications” to best protect themselves, their families, and those served.
“The biggest change was a significant alteration to our process of distributing food,” said Campbell. “People are not coming in for a shopping experience; we are prepackaging a bag of groceries for a ‘Grab and Go’ process.”
Bags of groceries are assembled and then pushed from behind a plexiglass shield one-at-time to guests who are socially distanced apart. Lazarus House staff can still communicate and connect through conversation and smiles.
“People who I’ve never seen before are calling up and asking if they can drop food off, saying ‘I know it must be difficult,’” said Campbell.
Fred Anderson and his son, longtime supporters of Lazarus House, drove six hours to Maine to load 200 50-pound bags of potatoes onto his trailer. They returned to unload the 10,000 pounds of potatoes for the pantry.
“The only hiccup is that we distribute the food differently,” said Campbell. “Other than that, we’re still doing what we’ve always done and that is to serve our community.”
The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission will hold a virtual online monthly meeting on at 11:00 a.m. The agenda includes updates of the commission’s activities. For details to join this meeting email Nancy Lavallee at email@example.com.
Haverhill | MVPC.org
The freshest party of the summer season is going virtual. The annual Farm to Cocktail Party has been re-imagined as Farm to Community 2020, an online food access fundraiser and celebration of Mill City Grows’ core belief that food is life and that food justice is now more important than ever.
Prep your favorite homemade cocktail and join them for a LIVE online event and support their Fund A Need to provide life-giving food to vulnerable families. To learn more, please visit their website here.