Here we are…again. Day 55. We’ve all just completed the most unusual April we’ve ever experienced. We’re two weeks away from what, we hope, will
be a gradual reopening.
I want to start this week expressing my deepest gratitude to the businesses listed below who became chamber members last month. Your support of our advocacy
and programming means so much to the entire chamber team. Even though we’re working remotely these days, we collectively cheer each time a new member
Friends, please welcome our newest chamber members.
If you’re not a member (and your current financial circumstances allow) joining now
will make a huge difference in our ability to advocate for our communities.
It was nice to see the Globe’s Shirley Leung
acknowledge what our local nonprofits and this chamber have known for a long time: There’s a big difference between those giant national banks and
our locally-headquartered community banks.
Leung’s Sunday column told of the Herculean effort
by local bankers who worked around the clock to help small businesses secure Paycheck Protection Program loans.
I heard the same thing from our region’s business owners. In conversation after conversation, they reported having trouble getting the big guys to return
their calls and/or process their applications. Meanwhile, our community bankers were bending over-backwards to help.
As I said, this isn’t surprising. Community banks have been providing financial support and volunteers to our local cultural groups, youth programs, social
service agencies and other nonprofits for decades.
That includes the chamber. Year after year, The Village Bank, Needham Bank, Century Bank, Direct Federal, Wellesley Bank, Cambridge Savings, Eastern Bank
and Rockland Trust are among our annual partners
Other community-minded banks make significant contributions too, paying dues, sponsoring events and actively participating in our programming.
Here's the reality: Without the annual dues and collective generosity of the financial institutions listed here
(and notice who's not listed) our chamber would not exist.
YMCA offers free emergency child care
If you’re an essential worker struggling with childcare or the guardian of a vulnerable child, the YMCA of Greater Boston branches, including the Needham
location, can help. The Y’s 12 facilities are closed but continue to offer emergency child care on a drop in basis, in accordance with state guidelines.
The centers serve infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school age children for essential workers and vulnerable children only.
“We have capacity to help many more essential workers and businesses,” writes Paula Jacobson, executive director of the Charles River YMCA
in Needham. “We have capacity to provide care for 480 children per day across our 12 sites. This past week we served an average of 90 children per
The centers are open 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., five days a week. They offer a flexible, drop-in basis and it is offered at no charge. Child care services are available
through June 26. Details and a full list of locations here.
Staples coworking getting ready to reopen
Just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Staples store in Needham and six other locations, underwent an impressive rebranding and renovation
They added coworking, a classroom, new print and marketing services, a podcast studio and a whole new vibe dedicated to nurturing small businesses
and sole entrepreneurs.
The company is gearing up to reopen all seven of its Staples Studios by June 1, or perhaps sooner. Upgrades include a state-of-the-art sanitation initiative
support open space coworking, including full time porters on site in each locations, electrostatic disinfectant machines, high end Fellows air purification
and sanitation stations.
Mental health resources
In Friday’s email
I listed mental health resources from Riverside Community Care.
Also, worth exploring is William James College’s
mental health and wellness referral helpline, available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at 888-244-6843. The INTERFACE Referral Service
is a free, confidential referral service for individuals across the lifespan living in participating communities, including Newton and Needham. Callers
are matched with licensed mental health providers from William James database. More information about the service and terms of confidentiality are
on the contact
Help with your PPP loans
Also, I erroneously listed the SBA’s hearing-impaired hotline number in Friday’s email
instead of the general help number. The correct number is 800-659-2955. The hotline is typically staffed by temporary SBA workers who’ve been brought
on to help manage the volume. If you need technical help, ask to speak to a “Tier II Specialist” to be connected to a full-time SBA employee.
Finally, this morning
Feeling a little weary-in-spirit entering another week of shut-down? Katherine Herer from the chamber team shared this piece from the Atlantic
with us on Friday. It may help.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
P.S. Newton’s Economic Development Commission is interested in hearing from Newton businesses here.
survey closes today.