Newsletter of the Rotary Club of Needham for January 26th, 2021
January Meetings Roundup
It has been COLD! It was seven degrees this morning as I walked my pup, and the second picture shows the result of the interaction in the cold of my pandemic mask, hood and glasses.
Our meetings continued, despite COVID and the weather with interesting speakers from the Salvation Army and the Town of Needham, both addressing the impact of the pandemic on our region and our town.
On January 19th, Emily Mew, State Coordinator of the Salvation Army's Disaster Services for Massachusetts (photo above), spoke to us about pandemic relief here. The Salvation Army (SA) has risen to meet a surge in demand for food relief in Massachusetts by providing more than 4 times the number of meals offered in 2019 (14.1mm in 2020). In some hard-hit towns with lots of front-line workers, the demand is much higher: in Chelsea, the SA is serving meals to 700 families per day, up from 50 per day last year. In Lynn: 600 families per day up from 60. 
The SA focuses on serving vulnerable populations through partner agencies: Veterans Agencies, Family Resource Centers, Native American Tribes, Senior Centers, Healthcare Partners, 20 Food Pantries, and YMCAs. The surge in demand as the economy locked down meant that the supply chain had to be reorganized and volumes improved. Food comes from local and Midwestern food banks, local and national vendors, donations, and the AMI Group pivoted from making airline meals to providing food relief in the pandemic. Seven SA facilities have been activated as hubs to assemble food boxes for distribution throughout Massachusetts. The SA has been asked to support the state's Emergency Management Agency's Feeding Task Force and is the lead agency working to provide food to the state's emergency housing programs. For more information or to make a donation:
On January 26th, Cyndi Roy Gonzalez, Public Information Officer for the Town of Needham, addressed us (photo below) about the town's Information Plan. Gonzalez is a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, who lives in Needham. She was Communications Director for Attorney General Maura Healey, then for the Department of Transportation, and then served Governor Deval Patrick as one of his Communications Directors. Her focus in Needham is to improve public awareness of government activities and promoting public participation in government. She is working on improving the town's social media presence and websites to reach target populations within the town.
It was a lively meeting with lots of interest expressed in how to discover very targeted governmental information about current, "hot" issues:
  • How to make an appointment to get vaccinated for COVD19 and (see the website's "COVID19 Updates and Information")
  • Where to get information on the Planning Board Meeting to discuss the potential redevelopment of the Muzi site. There's a Zoom meeting planned for the community on February 3rd. See:
For more information, Cyndi's email:
Next meeting: Tuesday February 2nd, 2021 at noon. Speaker: Gene Takahashi, CEO Walker Therapeutic and Educational Programs.