Groups Helping Residents During Pandemic the Focus of Watertown Cable Show

Guests Jan Singer of the Watertown Community Foundation (top left) and Sophia Suarez-Friedman of Watertown Mutual Aid (bottom right) joined Inside Watertown co-hosts Charlie Breitrose (top right) and Bob Airasian (bottom left). Two organizations that have been helping Watertown residents weather the COVID-19 pandemic were highlighted on the most recent episode of Watertown Cable’s Inside Watertown. The guests on the Zoom edition of Inside Watertown were Sophia Suarez-Friedman, the Town’s Social Services Resource Specialist at Wayside Youth & Family Support Network and coordinator of Watertown Mutual Aid; and Jan Singer, executive director of the Watertown Community Foundation. Co-hosts Charlie Breitrose and Bob Airasian talked with Suarez-Friedman and Singer about some of the many initiatives that have started during the pandemic. Mutual Aid is one, which pairs residents who want to help neighbors in need of assistance.

LETTER: Wayside Thanks Supporters During a Challenging 2020

The holiday season is upon us and it’s the most wonderful time of the year for many. But for some, it can be challenging and filled with worry. Not all families can provide gifts for their loved ones. Typically, the Watertown Social Services Resource Specialist (SSRS) Program, a Wayside Youth & Family Support Network program at the Multi-Service Center, works with local churches and businesses to provide holiday gifts for families in need. As you can imagine, this year proved to bevery challenging due to COVID-19 and the many restrictions we have in place.

Donations Sought for Watertown Mutual Aid’s Winter Coat Drive

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Mutual Aid Network:

Join us for the Winter Coat Drive on Saturday, Dec 12th, 12-3 p.m benefitting Watertown organizations and families. Please share the flyer with your friends and neighbors! We are accepting donations of:

NEW & LIKE NEW winter coats for children and adultsNEW hats, gloves, scarves for children and adultsNEW children’s pajamas

Watertown Residents Can Help Neighbors Celebrate Thanksgiving in 2020

Mutual Aid, which is sponsored by the Watertown Community Foundation and Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, sent out details about how to provide or request support:

As the Winter Holiday season begins, we want everyone to be able to celebrate with good food on the table. Fill out this form to support a family or request support in celebrating Thanksgiving, Thursday November 26th. Support can include a gift card to a grocery store or restaurant, a home-cooked meal, or grocery delivery. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sophia, the Community Coordinator at or 617-744-9585. If you need other resources, contact the Watertown Social Services Resource Specialist (SSRS) Program at 617-744-9585.

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.

An Open Letter to WHS Seniors from Wayside & the Watertown Youth Coalition

One of the signs that went up around town to celebrate Watertown High School’s graduating seniors. This letter was written by Lisa Gibalerio, Prevention Specialist, for Wayside Youth & Family Support Network and the Watertown Youth Coalition. Dear Seniors:

When the news came down last month that schools across Massachusetts would not reopen for the rest of the school year, a collective thud of disappointment resounded across town from you and your parents. The news confirmed what had been feared since schools closed back in March: there will be no spring athletic season, no awards ceremony honoring four grueling years, no prom, no Senior Week activities, and, perhaps most crushing of all, no graduation ceremony and no All Night Party. All time-honored events.

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.