Signs of Generosity Pop Up Around Watertown; Community Foundation Gives Rental, Food Assistance

The Watertown Community Foundation has given out these lawn signs to people who have donated to help others in town during COVID-19. The Watertown Community Foundation wanted to thank those who have donated to help out their neighbors during the difficult times cause by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have handed out lawn signs proclaiming “We ♥ Watertown.” WCF Executive Director Jan Singer said that residents have been very generous donating to the Foundation and the Community Resilience Fund, which was created in March to assist people impacted by the Coronavirus. “Hundreds of people in Watertown have contributed and we have given out thousands of dollars,” Singer said. “We continue to give emergency rental assistance and to both food pantries.

Mutual Aid Program Has Linked Dozens in Watertown to Help Each Other During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown began, a new program paired up people who needed help doing things like going to the grocery stores or getting masks with Town residents who could help them. So far, the Mutual Aid Network in Watertown has had 50 people reach out for assistance and nearly double that number offer to help, with 65 of those being matched with someone, said Program Coordinator Sophia Suarez-Friedman. The program is run by the Wayside Youth & Family Support Network and is funded by a grant from the Watertown Community Foundation. Recently, the Foundation provided enough money for Mutual Aid to run through the end of the year. 

Positive Feedback

Suarez-Friedman has collected “success stories” from some of the people who have received assistance through Mutual Aid or volunteered to help out. A person who feared going to get groceries when the cases of COVID-19 were surging was able to get help going grocery shopping.

Watertown Groups Providing Ways to Get Help From & Give Assistance to Neighbors (Including Face Masks)

The recently created Mutual Aid Network is a way for Watertown residents to help their neighbors, and for people in town to get assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak, including food, financial assistance and even face masks. The combined effort by the Watertown Community Foundation and the Wayside Youth & Family Support Network kicked off last week, and has already garnered a team of volunteers. Jan Singer, executive director of the Watertown Community Foundation said that people can request assistance or volunteer to provide help through this Mutual Aid form. The idea of Mutual Aid is to connect people, Singer said. Normally the groups would create a central drop-off and pick-up site, but that is not possible with places like the Watertown Library and Town Hall closed due to orders by the Governor.

Watertown Community Foundation Thanks Volunteers, Still Has Ways to Help

The Watertown Community Foundation sent out the following information:

May 2,2020 would have been our 7th Annual WHO-Watertown Helps Out! A Town Wide Day of Community Service. Because of COVID-19 we are unable to gather in groups but the wonderful spirit of helping out and giving back continues. THANK YOU for volunteering the past 6 years.THANK YOU for always being willing to step up and help out.THANK YOU for your donations to the Community Resilience Fund.THANK YOU for keeping the spirit of the day alive.THANK YOU for making Watertown a wonderful community. See how to volunteer to help during the COVID-19 outbreak by clicking here.

Watertown Groups Start Mutual Aid Network so Neighbors Can Help Neighbors

The Watertown Community Foundation teamed with Wayside to launch new Watertown Mutual Aid Network, which will allow neighbors to assist neighbors in these difficult times. The Watertown Community Foundation and the Wayside Youth & Family Support Network sent out the following information:

Welcome to the Watertown Mutual Aid Network, funded by the Watertown Community Foundation in association with Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s  Multi-Service Center. Mutual aid is a way for Watertown neighbors to support each other, by delivering food, making weekly calls for social support, providing financial assistance, and in many other ways. By following this link, you will find information about how to use mutual aid, links to forms to offer help and request aid from your Watertown neighbors, and additional resources. Please reach out to Sophia, the Community Coordinator at or 617-744-9585 if you have any questions or wish to offer help or request aid over the phone (translation services are available). We hope that this resource will bring our community together during this difficult time.

Watertown Community Foundation Using Resilience Funds to Help Food Pantry, Fund Coordinator

Just weeks after creating the Resilience Fund to help Watertown weather the Coronavirus outbreak, the Watertown Community Foundation has awarded money to help make sure residents have food, and to fund a coordinator to help those in need of assistance. The fund started with $40,000 from the Foundation’s unrestricted fund and donations from board members and staff. That amount has increased to more than $60,000 thanks to donations from individuals, local businesses and foundations, said WCF Executive Director Jan Singer. The money is intended to help people who are struggling due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the funds have already been distributed to help restart the operation of the Catholic Coalition Food Pantry in East Watertown, and to hire a part-time coordinator to help match people with the assistance they need.

Two Watertown Groups Get COVID-19 Grants from Tufts Health Plan Foundations

The following information was provided by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation:

Tufts Health Plan Foundation has identified the first 21 organizations to receive support from the $1 million it has committed to community efforts on behalf of older people affected by coronavirus in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut. “This first wave of funding addresses one of the most pressing concerns facing older people — food insecurity,” said Tom Croswell, Tufts Health Plan president and CEO. “These organizations are working on the front lines to meet critical needs and are well-positioned to respond to emerging priorities. Our communities depend on them, now more than ever.”

The organizations include area agencies on aging that provide meals and other support services to older people, food banks, and community organizations that are serving as hubs for collaborative regional responses. They include:

Massachusetts        $150,000

The Boston Foundation, COVID-19 Response Fund $25,000The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts $25,000The Greater Boston Food Bank $50,000Union Capital Boston, COVID-19 Fund $15,000Watertown Community Foundation, Community Resilience Fund $ 5,000Watertown Food Pantry (via Watertown Council on Aging) $ 5,000Worcester County Food Bank $25,000

Rhode Island                $125,000

Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island $25,000Rhode Island Community Food Bank $50,000United Way of Rhode Island, Rhode Island COVID-19 Response Fund $50,000

New Hampshire        $110,000

Granite United Way, COVID-19 Relief Fund $15,000Monadnock United Way, COVID-19 Relief Fund $15,000The New Hampshire Food Bank $50,000United Way of Greater Nashua, COVID-19 Emergent Needs Response Fund $15,000United Way of the Greater Seacoast, COVID-19 Family Fund $15,000

Connecticut                $100,000

Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut $10,000Connecticut Food Bank $50,000North Central Area Agency on Aging $10,000Senior Resources Agency on Aging $10,000Southwestern CT Agency on Aging and Independent Living $10,000Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging $10,000

“Communities and leaders are uniting to face this challenge,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan.

Community Foundation Starting New Fund Respond to Impacts of the COVID-19 Emergency

Looking for ways to help people in Watertown who are adversely impacted by the Coronavirus, the Watertown Community Foundation has created a new fund. Jan Singer, executive director of the Community Foundation, said the response to the Community Resilience Fund already been positive. The Foundation boards met remotely using Zoom to put together plans for the fund. “We know that this is going to be very difficult for a lot of people and it’s going to last for a while, we are assuming at this point,” Singer said. “We met together as a board and came up with an idea for the Resilience fund.