Chamber News

March 27, 2020 Likes Comments

Do what's in your wheelhouse

Yesterday, I shared the story of an anonymous customer who made a Needham shop owner's day.

This morning, meet a restaurant owner who is refusing to wait out this pandemic.
“We feed people," said Karen Masterson, co-owner of Johnny’s Luncheonette in Newton Centre. "That’s what we do. So that’s what we're doing.”
For Karen and two colleagues that means making soup. Quart after quart, after quart, of soup.
They started Saturday, cooking 55 quarts of Johnny’s beloved matzoh ball and veggie soups for the Newton Food Pantry. Then they prepped about 50 quarts more for the Newton Housing Authority, followed by dozens of quarts for a senior housing complex, among others.
Masterson even dropped off two quarts to an elderly woman living alone who was nervous about venturing to the store.
Except for one Johnny’s customer who offered to buy 40 quarts to be donated to a domestic violence shelter operated by the Second Step, Karen, with help from a few friends, is absorbing the cost of her soups and labor herself.
Two-hundred quarts and counting, Masterson has no plans to stop until this crisis is over.
“We’ll do this for as long as needed,” she says, hoping others will be inspired to “doing good things" too. "Let’s all do whatever we can that’s in our wheelhouse.”
Meanwhile, Johnny’s – along with more than 50 other local restaurants are open for the rest of us for takeout. You can find our list here.
Supporting businesses and nonprofits is our wheelhouse. Let us know if there’s any way your chamber can help.
Take good care of each other this weekend.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Disaster loan seminar this morning
If you are considering applying for the SBA Disaster loan, it’s important to apply ASAP. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and it costs nothing for you to apply. If you get approved, you do not need to take the loan. The most important thing right now is to submit an application ASAP because it normally takes 3-4 weeks to get funded without delays. Click here for the presentation slides.
You asked, Mayor Fuller answered
We had a timely conversation today with Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller speaking about the city’s response to Covid-19 and answering questions from businesses and nonprofits. If you missed it you can watch it here.
Updated FAQ Regarding Essential Services
Governor Baker’s Emergency Order prohibited in-person operations of non-essential businesses earlier this week. The administration also provided a COVID-19 Essential Services List to help businesses determine if they provide an essential service. Many businesses have reached out with questions about the order and this list and the state has put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions with plans to keep updating it daily.
Baker announces steps to preserve housing stability
The Governor also announced steps to keep vulnerable families in their homes, preserve the health and safety of low-income renters and homeowners, and prevent homelessness due to reduced or lost income. These steps include the following:
  • The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is moving to temporarily suspend terminations of federal and state rental vouchers under their purview.
  • MassHousing is transferring $5 million to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for a COVID-19 Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) fund to assist families facing rent insecurity.
  • The Division of Banks (DOB) has issued new guidance to Massachusetts financial institutions and lenders urging them to provide relief for borrowers and will advocate for a 60-day stay on behalf of all homeowners facing imminent foreclosure on their homes.
  • DHCD is issuing guidance recommending that all owners of state aided low-income housing, including Local Housing Authorities and private owners, suspend both pending non-essential evictions and the filing of any new non-essential evictions.
  • Affordable housing operators are urged to suspend non-essential evictions for loss of income or employment circumstances resulting in a tenant’s inability to make rent.

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