Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving — this will be my only update this week. I want to thank the constituents who take the time to engage me about the issues that are important to you. I am honored and thankful to be able to continue serving you in the Legislature. I would also like to thank my staff for all of their efforts in supporting constituents, my policy and budget work, and the work of the Public Health Committee.
We continue to evolve through this pandemic. While a lot of our lives look more and more like they did pre-March 2020, the pandemic is still not over. There are still roughly 10 confirmed COVID deaths in Massachusetts each week and we know that the case numbers we provide weekly aren’t a real reflection of where current infection levels are. Thanks to science and public health, we know most people who catch COVID will be okay, but some will not. We are also seeing high rates of flu and RSV. When possible, please consider same-day rapid COVID testing, good air circulation, and masking — as always, one of the most effective tools that we have. However you approach it, I wish you a joyful, safe and healthy holiday together.
Food insecurity in Massachusetts doubled during the pandemic and, as of early September 2022, an estimated 21.5% of Massachusetts households with children are facing food insecurity. Inflation has caused grocery prices to rise by an average of 13.5 percent nationally over the past year. We all feel the pinch, but low-income earners are hit hardest by food inflation since they spend a high proportion of their income on food.
Since there are many local organizations working to support the health and well-being of our community, I have only listed a few that we’ve been in touch with. If there are others that you would like to bring to our attention, please reach out. If you are able to donate or volunteer at one of these or another organization, that would be greatly appreciated.
Solutions at Work
Solutions at Work has a Homeless FREE Meals Program located in Central Sq Cambridge, MA. It is open five nights a week at 4:30 PM. There will be 60 meals each night, plus toiletries, backpacks, and sleeping bags. To learn more, please visit solutionsatwork.org/. Please consider donating at bit.ly/3UWQoq0.
Food For Free
Food For Free improves access to healthy food by establishing innovative programming and partnerships to overcome barriers and strengthen the community food system. To find ways to volunteer, please visit foodforfree.org/volunteer/. To donate, please visit foodforfree.org/donate and foodforfree.org/donate-food/. For an expansive list of Massachusetts food assistance programs, please visit foodforfree.org/need-food/.
Harvard Square Churches Meals Program
The Harvard Square Churches Meal Program has made it its mission to provide a nutritious meal in a hospitable environment to anyone who needs a meal. They will be providing takeaway meals on Thanksgiving from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, located at 0 Garden Street, Cambridge. Learn more at bit.ly/3tMInb8.
Transition House is a leader in the field of addressing domestic violence through intervention and prevention, with deep roots in Cambridge for over 45 years. To invest in breaking the cycle of violence in our community, please visit transitionhouse.org/how-to-support-us.To get help, please visit transitionhouse.org/resources.
On The Rise, Inc.
On The Rise has worked hard to help individuals experiencing homelessness. Their lunch program currently consists of bagged lunches and individually packaged hot lunches. Volunteers are welcomed this week on Wednesday and Friday to fill one of their greatest needs by being able to offer a home-cooked meal to dozens of participants who walk through their doors. To donate, please visit bit.ly/3EqOqan.
Cambridge Community Center
The Cambridge Community Center continues to provide support to the youth, families, and seniors living in Cambridge and its surrounding communities with innovative programs and services. To donate, please visit cambridgecc.org/donate.html
YWCA Cambridge is the city’s largest residential housing provider for women. To donate or learn about how else you can support their work, please visit ywcacam.org/get-involved/.
Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House
The Margaret Fuller neighborhood continues to provide integrated services to individuals and families to help them overcome challenges. To donate, please visit margaretfullerhouse.org/donate/.
Y2Y Harvard Square
Y2Y Harvard Square is a shelter for young adults (18-24) experiencing homelessness and is the nation’s first youth-led youth homeless shelter. Y2Y HSQ guests collaborate with service providers, other youth experiencing homelessness, and student volunteers to create sustainable pathways out of homelessness and develop skills for long-term success. To learn about volunteering and donating funds and items, please visit y2ynetwork.org/get-involved.
The Salvation Army Cambridge Corps Shelter & Day Care
The Salvation Army Cambridge Corps Shelter & Day Care will be serving dinner on Wednesday at 12:00 pm located at 402 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139. To donate, please visit bit.ly/3EpxyAL.
While we want holidays to be joyful, they can also exacerbate mental health and substance use challenges. If you or someone you know is in need of behavioral health services, here are some resources in addition to those listed at decker4rep.com/2020/mental-health-resources/; otherwise, please consider reaching out to someone who may be struggling or feeling isolated.
988: Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
988 is a direct three-digit phone line to trained National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call takers. 988 can be used anytime, anywhere you or a loved one is in emotional distress or having suicidal thoughts. You can access the lifeline by calling or texting 988 or by visiting 988 lifeline.org/chat.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
The families and members of NAMI Cambridge / Middlesex are a grassroots, volunteer-run, non-profit, support, education, and advocacy group that advocates for better treatment, timely services, and a continuum of care for persons with mental illness. To learn more, please visit nami-cambridgemiddlesex.org/. The NAMI Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-950-6264 or by emailing email@example.com. Although the helpline is only available Monday through Friday from 10AM until 8PM EST, there is a 24/7 text-line available by texting ‘NAMI’ to 741-741.
Network of Care Massachusetts
Network of Care Massachusetts includes a directory of over 5,000 programs and organizations across the Commonwealth, searchable by keyword and zip code. To learn more, please visit massachusetts.networkofcare.org/mh/.
I am proud and grateful to be a part of this community. Thank you again to the organizations, community providers, and volunteers supporting those in need during the holidays and year-round. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov or call 617-722-2130.