Good News(letter)! – #4

Hi all,

It’s Friday, and once again I have been thinking about the amazing community we live in and the outpouring of support from around the city. The Cambridge Mutual Aid Network, seeing the need in Chelsea which has an astonishingly high number of cases per capita, has arranged for donations to the food bank there, with volunteers gathering donations and bringing it to Chelsea.

On a similar note, FeedOurFrontlineCambridge has brought deliveries to not only Cambridge hospitals and Boston Health Care for the Homeless, but also Chelsea – since we want to spread the resources. With Earth Day this week we delivered food via bike and electric car – #fossilfuelfree!!! In fact, our work there has saved local restaurants (see more below) – and if we raise another $1500 we can support another community health center in Chelsea as well.

And the personal giving goes on – a neighbor (thank you Belinda Watt!) made masks for our family – I presume she thought my mask made from a mismatched sock needed an upgrade? Then my daughter added an extra layer of protection with her own personal plea.

There was no City Council meeting on Monday due to Patriots Day, but I have multiple items on the agenda for next week, and as always, do not hesitate to reach out with ideas to respond to the pandemic and improve our city generally.

Best,

Patty

Perhaps the best news of the week: What we are doing here in Massachusetts is working. Social distancing helped to flatten the curve and a large mobilization effort ensured that we did not run out of hospital beds or ventilators. While I disagree with Governor Baker on a range of issues unrelated to COVID-19, we are lucky that he is listening to public health experts and being proactive about fighting this disease. 

President Obama tweeted an article highlighting the actions being taken in MA, which stated: “The state’s governor, Charlie Baker, has embarked on a plan that includes full-scale, statewide testing and contact tracing, which will be linked to an effective quarantine-and-treatment system. A consortium—made up of state and local departments of health, the state’s health-insurance marketplace, and private companies, including Accenture and Salesforce—is working to build the system and hire hundreds of new employees by the end of this month. Partners in Health is drawing on its global disease-fighting experience to help coördinate the effort. It’s a true mobilization: the state is taking on the virus directly, using the five-element anti-pandemic arsenal.”

Mass General models show a flattening curve; COVID-19 patients are not expected to overwhelm the system during this week’s surge. We have a long way to go, but this is welcome news.

Feed Out Frontline – Cambridge is still going strong. We have already delivered over 1,000 meals from over a dozen local restaurants. It is making a big impact for both the hospitals and the businesses. This week FOFC delivered more than 100 breakfasts daily from Kendall Kitchen to Boston HealthCare for the Homeless Program’s site on Albany Street and tent site.  Hratch Adourian, the owner,  was very appreciative – and re-opened because of our order: 

“So thankful you guys chose us!!  I have been paying my guys out of pocket since we closed a month ago. I have an amazing crew who have been with me for years- highly unusual in this business! I consider them family and wanted to make sure there needs are covered as best I can provide.  The opportunity you gave us will indeed allow me to continue to do so…we opened our doors for this event and that we were able to secure pay for our staff.”  

Cambridge has continued to distribute money to residents who need it most and help ensure everyone who is food-insecure has access to groceries. The city’s emergency fund has already processed hundreds of applications for relief and dispensed over $190,000 to more than 156 Cambridge residents and workers.

Food For Free has tripled the number of families being served. Every week hundreds of bags of food are distributed – with so many volunteers stepping up to help the stellar organizers, which include Vice Mayor Alanna Mallon. Check out a recent Cambridge Chronicle article about the effort (and spot my aide, Michael Scarlett, in one of the pictures). If you are able, please volunteer with Food For Free or find another effort that is serving our community. 

Read this guest column by Sam Seidel about his neighbors all coming outside at 8pm each night to greet each other and cheer for first responders.

Get your neighbors to join you as well! We need to find ways to foster community while staying physically distant, and this is a great place to start. It is beginning to catch on all over Cambridge! 

Another good news item is that many state parks are open, and hiking is a healthy activity that can be done with physical distancing.  A few days ago our family hiked Mount Percival in NH and found it easy to stay physically distant from others and easy to forget the pandemic and enjoy the beauty of New England.  I hope you are taking care of yourselves during these times.