City of Cambridge Providing Ongoing Support for Seniors and Homeless Community During the COVID-19 Crisis

Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale today announced a series of initiatives that are available or being developed to support seniors and individuals who are homeless as part of the City of Cambridge’s ongoing response to the public health crisis created by COVID-19.   

“For those of you who are seeking ways to help, please consider volunteering your time to support one of these efforts or consider donating to the City’s Disaster Relief Fund,” said Mayor Siddiqui and City Manager DePasquale in a joint statement. “This is a time to show that residents of Cambridge stand together, support those in need, and are a united community in the face of this unprecedented public health threat. Information for how to donate to the fund can be found on the City’s website.”  

Homeless Outreach & Support  

  • With many shelter programs short staffed and no longer having the capacity to prepare meals on site, the city is in the preliminary stages of contracting with local restaurants in Central and Harvard Square to provide bag or boxed meals for lunch and for dinner to be delivered to the specified shelters and programs that have indicated a strong need for the meals. If restaurants are interested in participating in this program in the future, they should contact the Purchasing Department at purchasing@cambridgema.gov. For more, information, see related news story.  
  • The city is aggressively looking for alternative housing options for anyone who is reliant on a shelter and may have symptoms consistent with the flu or COVID-19.  
  • The Cambridge Police Department is providing an ongoing nightly presence at the city’s primary shelters at 240 Albany Street and the Warming Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue. (Access via Green Street entrance on the other side of the building).

Senior Outreach & Resources  

  • For a current list of Cambridge Food Resources available during COVID-19, please review: https://twitter.com/CambMotion 
  • Food for Free is using volunteers to deliver food to housing developments. Food staging sites are located at the Citywide Senior Center and the Gately Youth Center, where packages are being prepared and delivered to residents’ doors. 
  • The city and Food for Free have set up the Cambridge Community Food Line (617-349-9155), a food item delivery service for Cambridge residents who are at high risk of food insecurity. The service will deliver a weekly bag of produce and shelf stable grocery items to eligible individuals and families until food pantries and meal programs can reopen. You qualify for this grocery delivery service if:   
    • The food pantry or meal program you used has closed until further notice
    • You have lost your job or part of your income and cannot afford groceries at this time
    • You are homebound due to illness, disability, or quarantine and do not have support that can bring you food
    • You are at high risk for COVID-19 and do not have access to a regular food source 

Note: The Cambridge Community Food Line will provide groceries to anyone who meets the criteria above, regardless of immigration status.  

To participate, call 617-349-9155. You will be prompted to leave a voicemail with your name, number, and address. A member of our staff will call you back within 24 hours to confirm that you meet the criteria for food item delivery. If you meet the criteria, you will be added to the weekly distribution list.

It remains incredibly important for residents over the age of 60, especially those with underlying health conditions, to practice thorough personal hygiene and safe social distancing. If there is a need to leave the house to obtain groceries and other items, please find updated information on what local grocery store chains are doing to create specific shopping windows for people over 60 (please confirm with the local markets on their latest hours and visit https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/Seniors):   


Market Basket
, which has a location at 400 Somerville Ave. in Somerville, will open exclusively for people over 60 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.  

Stop & Shop, which has locations on McGrath Highway and Alewife Brook Parkway, will open exclusively for people over 60 each day from 6:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. 

Star Market, which has locations in Porter Square, on Beacon Street, on Mt. Auburn St., and on McGrath Highway, will open on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems. 

Pemberton Farms, located at 2225 Massachusetts Ave. will offer daily hours from 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. for customers ages 60 and over. They can also pull and deliver groceries for nearby customers (delivery fee based on location). If interested, please email Denna at denna@pembertonfarms.com

Whole Foods, which has three locations in Cambridge, will open for people over 60 one hour before it opens to the general public. The River Street location near Cambridge Port will open for seniors at 8:00 a.m. The Prospect Street location near Central Square will open for seniors at 7:00 a.m. The Fresh Pond location will open for seniors at 8:00 a.m.  

As a reminder, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, City of Cambridge Senior Centers and the Council on Aging are closed until further notice.

Please remember to be on alert for scams. Bad actors are attempting to exploit this crisis for their own financial gain, and the region is expecting an uptick in scams relating to COVID-19. Be on the lookout for high-priced or low-quality products, COVID-19 scams, false or misleading information, and fraudulent charities. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has a consumer hotline to report these scams. If you feel you’ve been approached by or the victim of a scam, please call (617) 727-8400. 

The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Public Health Department continue to work closely together to identify resources to reinforce the city’s response and preparedness activities. For more information and to sign up to receive updates on COVID-19, please visit the city’s dedicated information page: https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19

Page was posted on 3/22/2020 5:31 PM
Page was last modified on 3/24/2020 2:42 PM
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