The Cambridge Community Center was founded in 1929 by a group of Black pastors because the local YMCA was for white men only at the time. The founders wanted to create a space where all Cambridge residents could build community together. For 91 years, the Cambridge Community Center has quickly and effectively responded to the evolving needs of the most under-resourced and under-represented youth, families, and seniors living in Cambridge. While the COVID-19 outbreak has drastically changed the way in which we do this important work, it has not stopped us from doing it. We have focused our energy around three major initiatives during this time:
1. Maintaining communication with the youth and families enrolled in our youth programs, as well as any family that was enrolled in our youth programs at any time dating back to 2011. This has involved coordinating activities for students online and keeping families connected to resources available to them in the community. This has been done through weekly emails and calls that our youth program staff continue to make.
2. Connecting with our database of seniors. We have done this through a robust partnership with Building Impact, who helped us create an efficient system for recruiting and training volunteers to make weekly phone calls to seniors in our database on our behalf. Building Impact also designed a system for the volunteers to record the information obtained on these calls in a way that is organized in a color-coded spreadsheet so we can quickly respond to the needs that arise on the calls. We are also coordinating this effort with Rep. Marjorie Decker's office to ensure that any senior who demonstrates high-level needs on these calls is quickly connected with the services available to them at the City and State level. You can learn more about this initiative here: https://www.buildingimpact.org/phone-tree-training.
3. On April 7, we launched a safe-distance Food & Supply Pantry in partnership with the Central Square Business Improvement District (BID) that is being run out of our gymnasium. We are getting food donations from Lovin' Spoonfuls and Food For Free to support this effort. The Central Square BID is also securing donations of supplies (toilet paper, diapers, feminine hygiene products, etc.) for us to distribute, as well. So far, we have distributed over 7,500 bags of food and supplies to over 2,000 households.