Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
May 14, 2020
Because the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative had to cancel our monthly networking meeting, we are providing the updates below, which we received from various agencies that typically attend our monthly meetings.
Steve O’Neil: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff Cocchi continues the strict preventative measures he put in place at the Sheriff’s Department to ensure the health and safety of our staff as well as the inmates. He is pleased to report that due to these protocols we have had no positive COVID-19 inmates to date. We have however had a few staff test positive (14 out of 850 staff) having contracted the virus outside the jail. All of these staff have quarantined at home. Ten have recovered and returned to work with 4 still recovering.
As the state slowly reopens it is important to stay safe, wear masks when you cannot maintain social distance, wash hands frequently and take care of yourself and your families and your community. We look forward to a return to a “new normal” as we all work through this challenging time.
Chief Manny Febo: Holyoke Police Department
The Holyoke Police Department is fully staffed and remains healthy during this crisis. We have started walking patrols in the city along with increased anti-narcotics patrols by our detectives. We are seeing the usual uptick in warm weather activity and are making adjustments to deal with those issues. Some of our weather related issues are drag racing, dirt bikers, speeding, gang activity and so on. We appreciate everything all of the agencies are doing to improve the quality of life and overall community health. Please let us know how we can help moving forward.
Chief Sean McBride: Holyoke District Court Probation
The Holyoke District Court Probation Department continues to operate on reduced staff and will do so until at least 6/1/20. While the building is closed to the public we continue to supervise those under probation supervision and are available by phone to handle inquiries from probationers, the public and victims. As always I can be contact by phone at
Aaron Vega: State Representative
The legislature has now moved to remote formal sessions and voting. A number of pieces of legislation have passed so far including tenant protections, pandemic unemployment and additional funds for health care. Things like expired drivers licenses, car registration and tax filings have all got 60 day extensions. We will be taking up legislation for mail in ballots for the fall elections and will be passing some portion of the FY21 State Budget in June. To date over 900,000 people have filed for unemployment here in the State, we are looking at projected State revenue losses of $-6 billion if not more and though we are moving in the right direction as far as testing and confirmed COVID-19 cases the move to opening businesses will be slow and with many new guidelines and regulations. Addressing education needs and food access continue to be my priorities for Holyoke. I continue to provide updates on my Fifth Hampden Facebook page. Be safe and thank you to everyone for the work they are doing during this crisis.
Amy Karangekis: US Attorney General’s Office
The AGO has recently created the below flyers on COVID-19 multilingual assistance & assistance for victims of DV. Please circulate and share with others.
Attorney General's Office Multilingual COVID-19 Publications: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/attorney-generals-office-multilingual-covid-19-publications
Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Resources (multilingual): https://www.mass.gov/guides/resources-during-covid-19#-domestic-violence-&-sexual-assault-resources-
Heidy Fontanez: Bethany Assembly of God
Bethany Assembly of God continues to service the community by providing groceries.
Bethany Assembly of God in Agawam continues to serve the community through its FOOD PANTRY ministry during the Covid-19 challenge.
We are keeping everyone safe by having a drive through set up and our volunteers are adhering to the safety protocol established by the State.
The Food Pantry is open:
- Mon & Tue from 1 pm – 3 pm
- 1st Tuesday of the Month 6 pm – 8 pm
- And the last Saturday of the month from 9 am – 11 am.
- Picture ID and a bill with the person’s address is all they need.
For questions regarding the Food Pantry, please contact our office from Mon – Fri from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. at 413-789-2930.
Cass Pastorelle: Eagle Eye Institute
Join Eagle Eye Institute and Kestrel Land Trust as our 2020-21 TerraCorps Member
We are looking for a TerraCorps member to join our team! TerraCorps is an AmeriCorps program focused on land access and equity. As a Community Engagement/Youth Education Coordinator serving with Eagle Eye and Kestrel, your focus will be on engaging Holyoke youth in hands-on outdoor learning programs, as well as engaging community members and volunteers in land-related programs and events. You can find the full position description here: https://terracorps.org/apply-ma/#KLTEEI1.
Members serve in full-time (38 hour/week) positions from August 2020-July 2021. These 1,700-hour AmeriCorps positions receive a living allowance and are eligible for an education award, loan forbearance, healthcare coverage, childcare reimbursement, and additional AmeriCorps benefits. Members receive access to mentorship, training, and professional development throughout their service. Application specifics and additional information about the program can be found at terracorps.org/apply.
Our preference is to hire someone from the community as this position's role is to engage community members in the Pioneer Valley and coordinate programs with Holyoke youth. We encourage folks from communities of color and underrepresented communities to apply. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
AmeriCorps programs provide equal service opportunities. TerraCorps will recruit and select persons for all positions to ensure a diverse and inclusive community. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and varying experiences, including people with disabilities, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. We will provide reasonable accommodations for interviews and services upon request. TerraCorps is a grant program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Maryann Linnehan: Western Mass Elder Care
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the way we live and work these last few months, WMEC staff is actively responding to the needs of our clients and delivering services in the safest way possible throughout this evolving situation. Our staff is available telephonically, by email or by video chat Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm. Here are some of the many ways we can help:
- WMEC Care Managers provide frequent telephonic support and phone “check-ins” for all program consumers. We work with our direct care vendors to plan for services in the home. Direct care staff are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Our Community Resource Specialists (CRS) continue to take new referrals for home care services daily. They listen, assess needs, answer questions and help navigate referrals and resources to our programs and other services in the community.
- We can provide PPE for consumers and family caregivers. Masks, gloves and face shields are available upon request.
- New services have been designed to both meet COVID Care recovery needs and deliver care safely in the home.
- WMEC Nursing Staff conduct telephonic assessments to assess and monitor consumers’ physical and mental health. They assist with discharges from nursing facilities back to home.
- Our Meals on Wheels staff and drivers wear masks and gloves, follow strict social distancing protocols, and make contactless deliveries to protect their health and that of our consumers. Meal options include daily delivery, a seven day frozen pack option and meals for the weekend if needed.
- A virtual gathering is held weekly to connect and support our LGBTQ Community. Visit https://www.wmeldercare.org/lgbtq/ for more information.
- WMEC provides critical Caregiver Supports including strategies for those caring for a loved one with dementia or chronic conditions, or raising grandchildren.
Melissa Garcia: Gandara Center
We are continuing to provide services remotely to the community. Our physical location will continue to be closed for the public until further notice; the agency is currently reviewing the state phases and working on plans for reopening as the weeks come by.
Angela Callahan: River Valley Counseling Center
RVCC is very appreciative of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department's donation of face masks made by inmates! THANK YOU for protecting our staff and the people we serve!!
RVCC Program Updates:
Eighteen families in RVCC's Wellness Interventions Support and Education (W.I.S.E.) Program from Peck Full Service Community School and Veritas Prep in Holyoke received calming boxes last month. W.I.S.E. staff delivered boxes containing games, journals, a psychoeducational insert, items to make glitter jars, stickers, colored pencils, hand sanitizer, and more. Families also met together during a Google Hangout chat to talk about coping strategies. WISE followed this up with a movie night drop off featuring the film "Inside Out" and they provided psychoeducational materials about managing emotions and popcorn! It was a great way to support our families involved in the W.I.S.E. Program. The program conducts weekly check-ins via phone and some of our kids have a mentor who checks in via phone as well. They also have bi-weekly Groups/ Family Sessions via video/phone on Google Hangouts. To learn more about W.I.S.E. please follow the link to our website: https://www.rvcc-inc.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=64547&cn=0
RVCC's CBHI Programs (In-Home Therapy, In-Home Behavioral Services and Therapeutic Mentoring Program continue to accept new clients. For more information, please contact Natalie Lavallee at
I forgot to add one more thing under RVCC Program Updates. If it's not too late, can you please add this under RVCC's CBHI Programs update? I understand if you're not able to. Thanks either way!
Justine Saabs: Holyoke Housing Authority
HHA is still closed to the general public however staff is at the office on a rotating schedule and is available via telephone or email, and in person for urgent matters. A contact list for all administrative staff can be found on the website at www.holyokehousing.org. Maintenance is working regular hours and completing only emergency work orders, they can be reached at 413-539-2216. We have collaborated with the Boys and Girls Club to offer meals to school-aged youth at your family developments, Beaudoin Village, Churchill & Toepfert daily from 4:30-5:30PM. The Mobile Food Bank is still operating at Beaudoin Village the 1st and 3rdMondays of every month from 11:00-11:45AM.
Director of Resident Empowerment and Community Programming
Luis Perez: Foodbank of Western Mass
We hope you and your families are healthy during these difficult times. We would like to reach out and remind you about our resources at The Food Bank of Western MA. And how to access those resources since some things have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic.
All SNAP outreach events are cancelled until further notice.SNAP application assistance is still available via phone at (413) 992-6204.
Most of our Mobile Food bank locations are still up and running. Please check our website www.foodbankwma.org under the get help tab for schedules.
There are no eligibility requirements to receive food from our Mobile Food Bank. Anyone in need of assistance can attend. It’s a good idea to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to distribution time and bring with you boxes or bags to carry your food.
Find a food pantry or free meal during COVID-19 crisis
During the COVID-19 crisis, some member agencies of The Food Bank have adjusted their hours or have decided to close. Please refer to the schedule on our website to find free meals or a food pantry. This schedule is updated frequently, so please check back regularly.
Please check our website www.foodbankwma.org under the get help tab for more details.
Mara Shulman: Health Law Advocates
My organization, Health Law Advocates, has prepared a remote training on advocating for special education students during COVID-19 and I would be happy to present to your agency at no cost at a time convenient for your staff. In this training, we address the guidance received from the U.S. Department of Education and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on the provision of special education services during extended school closure. Even if your role does not include formal advocacy, knowing the parameters of the above guidance will help you navigate better this unusual time for already vulnerable youth.
We also have trainings in English and Spanish for parents of special education students, available also at no cost and at times convenient for parent groups.
Please contact me to schedule a remote training.
Shelly Lenn: The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens / Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice
Angela Baez: Behavioral Health Network
Sarah Schmidt: Holyoke Community College
One thing we have coming up in June is a free "How to Work & Learn Online" series, for info & to register click here: http://hcc.3dcartstores.com/-How-to-Work-Learn-Online-Free-_p_17050.html
Jennifer Fernandes: United Way, Thrive Program
THRIVE now has a new 1-800 number to help people with questions around unemployment, student loans, stimulus checks, small businesses. The number is 1- 888-308-4748 number, so as soon as I get that, I’ll email it to you.
Betty Lichtenstein: Enlace de Familia Inc.
Enlace created a new HOLYOKERESOURCES.COM, so it can be used by providers and by families. The state area is all translated into 14 different languages. WE will translate the local services and resources when they aren't in Spanish.
Thais Rivera: Career Connections
At Career Connections we are continuing to serve our clients in the community while working from home. We are still waiting on an update on when clients will be able to return to our offices. We are working with clients on budgeting, self-care, soft skills, study skills, and more all virtually with the help of our staff.
Iohann RashiVega: Holyoke Media
Holyoke Media. Public Access TV and local media information source. We are reporting the most recent updates in the local, state, and federal level related to the COVID-19 emergency, through interviews, posting on our social media platforms, the Information Brief / Síntesis Informativa service that is broadcasted through Facebook Live, Channel 15, Instagram, and is available in two segments, one in English the other is Spanish.
We are on holyokemedia.org and social media:
Also we have daily interviews in Spanish as part of el Colectivo de Medios Latinos, in partnership with the latino journalists from Presencia - New England Public Media; and El Pueblo Latino (The Republican).
Monica Baldyga: Girl Scouts of Central and Western Mass
I hope this email finds you well. While schools are closed and students are home, I’m excited to share that the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts is offering virtual programs to families! We ask that you present this information to your families. If your families do not have a computer, access to the internet or a printer? No problem, let us know and we will mail you or them the activities. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything the Girl Scouts maybe able to do to assist you and the families you serve
Jennie Adamczyk: Providence Ministries
We will begin bringing residents back into Loreto House from secure facilities such as Prison or Detox/CSS the week of 6/1. No self-referrals or walk ins. Kate’s Kitchen will continue operating Mon-Fri with no weekend service until the first of June (date coming soon) Margaret’s Pantry is still opened by appointment for food service and St. Jude’s is currently closed until July.
Tarah Shepard: South Bay Community Services
Hope all is well, I wanted to give you another quick update about South Bay, there is no wait for English speaking adults for therapy or medication management services, the Wait for Spanish speaking consumers is about 3 months (youth and adults) and the wait for English speaking youth is about 1-2 months. If anyone has questions they can email me, thank you so much, looking forward to "new normal".
David Beturne: Big Bothers / Big Sisters of Hampden County
BBBS is continuing to support our matches virtually. At his time, we are asking all matches continue to “meet” using technology such as facetime or zoom.
We are in the process of drafting recommendations and guidelines for match meetings as stay at home orders loosen. Everyone’s health and safety is our number one priority.
Yesenia Cruz: Adcare Hospital
AdCare Inpatient & Outpatient is open during COVID; we follow all CDC and state guidelines and in addition we have taken precautionary measures such as deep cleaning all facilities daily, installing clear partitions in transport, admissions, etc. We will continue to follow Governor Baker's guidelines on re-opening.
We understand that this transition will be difficult and some people need help now more than ever -especially once restrictions are lifted and people have to return to work/school/back into the community. One goal we will be focusing on moving forward is how to access people back into treatment, who are struggling, have relapsed, etc. Limiting wait times is a must. We will continue to offer telehealth to any patients not comfortable coming on site once things re-open.
Christine Zaskey Cullen: Holyoke Chicopee Family and Community Program
Jesus Pereira: Holyoke Veteran’s Services
Holyoke Veteran’s Services are still working remotely with one person in the office to handle phones. If any veteran is having a hard time and needs financial assistance they can still reach us via email or phone. 413-322-5630
Brenda Carroll: Commonwealth Care Alliance
Over the past few weeks, together we have faced and responded to an unprecedented situation in providing care to those we serve. Now more than ever, Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) remains committed to putting people first in all that we do and fulfilling our mission. We continue to aim to improve the health and well-being of people with significant needs by innovating, coordinating and providing the highest quality, individualized care to those with the most significant needs. I wanted to reach out to remind you of a few of the services we are currently providing our members:
- CCCA is providing coverage for the full cost of diagnostic tests for COVID-19. CCA members who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for testing will have no co-pay, coinsurance, or deductibles for these tests.
- Consistent with the guidelines issued by MassHealth, CCA is providing coverage to our members for all medically necessary COVID-19 treatment at doctor's offices, emergency rooms, and urgent care centers within the United States or internationally.
- To ensure our members have adequate medications and to encourage social distancing guidelines, CCA members are currently able to receive a one-time early refill of their medications and may receive up to a 3-month supply.
- CCA has removed authorization and referral requirements for all medically appropriate care related to COVID-19.
- CCA has authorized transportation to pharmacies and grocery stores for caregivers.
- Our primary care clinics and crisis stabilization units remain open.
- CCA has permitted qualified providers to deliver clinically-appropriate, medically-necessary CCA-covered services to CCA members via telehealth.
- CCA continues to deploy clinical staff in the community to provide care to members in their homes.
- CCA has implemented contingency plans to ensure that our members receive the same level of quality care and comprehensive support for health related needs as was in place prior to the pandemic, and for our current members, we have taken measures to provide additional support for our members’ needs.
- CCA has donated $50,000 dollars to our Commonwealth’s food banks.
During these unprecedented and challenging times, we want to let you know that CCA is prepared to help. CCA can partner with your practice to provide clinical oversight and care coordination in the community for patients with complex medical, behavioral, and social needs who are eligible for MassHealth Standard (with or without Medicare).
Through our Senior Care Options program for individuals 65+ and our One Care Program for individuals 21-64, we can work together to help your patients receive the support and services required to keep them living safely and independently in their homes. If you feel that there are individuals you are caring for who may benefit from the services we provide, please let me know—we are still able to enroll new members and we will continue to do all we can to support you.
Kathy Goulet-Fenn: Womanshelter/Compañeras
We continue to work remotely as an agency and have not closed down.
*These advocates are available to assist anyone who is a victim of Domestic Violence with
referrals and Safety Planning from Monday -Friday 8:30 a.m - 4:30 p.m.
24 Hour Hotline Phone Number: 413-536-1628
Ehra Rodriguez: Womanshelter/Compañeras
Womanshelter/Companeras: Crisis Line operating 24/7 (413-536-1628) with backup staff to pick up. All Advocates and Safe Plan Advocates are available via Office Cell Phones, new participants designated accordingly.
The Main Office remains closed to the public at 208 Race Street, Holyoke, MA and continues to follow the closure mandate by the Governor. Everyone working remotely since March 23rd.
Shelter (full) is cautionary on accepting new families, we do lodge survivors in imminent danger, assessed by an Advocate or Executive Director, in local hotels (short stay) and still assisting them in seeking a "safer"place to relocate too.
Judy Taylor: Holyoke Public Schools
Severe weather caused roofs to collapse in one of our Holyoke neighborhoods on Friday, May 15th. Over 100 families with close to 50 Holyoke students lost their homes and had to be evacuated that night. We humbly ask you to partner with us to support these families affected by this tragedy. Please consider donating to this cause https://bit.ly/2Tg7IbN.
We would like to share information with you about the following topics in this week’s Holyoke Update:
- Hurry! Applications are due Friday for Preschool Lottery (We still have full-day PreK openings for 4-year olds) and Options Programs Lotteries
- Remote Learning Expectations
- Enroll Online to HPS for School Year 2020-21
- Special Education Update
- Contacting HPS During the School Closure
- Food Access – Grab and Go meals, social service resources, P-EBT
- Summer & Extended Learning Offerings – Apply today!
- School Choice
- “Cone of Excellence” Awarded to Virginia Roche, Michelle Macklin, Brian Harris, Jacqueline Escalera, Kelly Curran, Chris Noel Labieniec, and Amanda Smith
- Holyoke High School News –
- Salute to Our Seniors
- Virtual Talent Show
- Reminders – Remote Learning, Senior Events, Senior Survey, Early College
- News Briefs
- Dr. Zrike’s Facebook Live Sessions
- Staff Appreciation Notes
- HPS in the News
- Upcoming Events –
- May 18th – Virtual School Committee Meeting 6:00 PM
- May 20th, HPS Facebook Live session with Dr. Zrike
- May 22nd, Future Teacher Signing Day
- Reminders – STEM Kits and Chromebooks for students, Scholars Lounge, Provide your updated contact information, MCAS, Senior surveys, Census
Edgar Robles: Holyoke Public School
We stilling giving out free breakfast, lunch and now dinner on Monday, Wednesday, Friday (on Friday we give for the entire weekend from 10:00 am - 12:30 pm and the site are Donahue, Lawrence, Morgan, and Kelly and on Wednesday we are giving chrome books for students from Holyoke 10:00 -12:00 pm at Morgan school and if your want your child to attend summer school please apply on the Holyoke Public School website we are taking applications.
Suzanne Parker: Girls Inc. of the Valley
Here are a couple of paragraphs on what we have been up to.
Girls Inc. of the Valley continues to support girls in Holyoke and beyond. The presence of supportive, caring adults is crucial for youth during a crisis. Staff are connecting with girls regularly, providing referrals to resources as well as emotional supports. We are providing virtual/remote Girls Inc. activities for all ages. Some activities are open to all and others require an online registration. Activity kits are also being sent home. We are starting a new project in the next couple of weeks to provide menstrual and other hygiene products to those in needed. More information can be found on our website and through our social media channels.
McKenzie Umrysz: Healthy Families Program, MSPCC
Healthy Families is a voluntary home visiting program for first time pregnant or parenting individuals who are 20 years old and younger. A Home Visitor works with the individual on parenting skills, child development, goal planning, and connecting to local resources such as food, shelter, financial aid, education, and counseling services. We normally meet the individual out in the community where they feel most comfortable (in the home, at a library etc.), but during this time we are doing telehealth visits. We have Spanish and English speaking staff, and serve the communities of Holyoke, Chicopee, and Westfield. For our current participants in need, we are providing diapers, wipes, activity boxes, and deliveries from grocery stores as the pandemic goes on.
Sophie Schouboe: Food Bank of Western Mass
Here are some updates from The Food Bank:
If people are looking for feeding programs they can visit our website or call 413-247-9738: https://www.foodbankwma.org/get-help/covid-19-food-pantry-meal-program-schedule/
The Food Bank now has a direct SNAP line for people that need help with SNAP applications in either Spanish or English, 413-992-6204. If they leave a message, the SNAP team will return the message within 48 business hours. There’s a flyer attached.
Angel Coriano: Homework House Inc.
Homework House update:
We are promoting our free summer Reader and Leaders Program. It is open to student entering 2-5 grades. I have attached the flyers in English and Spanish.
Homework House is also providing remote tutoring to students.visit our Facebook page or contact me
Ron Johnson: CrossPoint Clinical Services
We continue to offer Christian-based Mental Health Counseling via Teletherapy during the Covid-19 crisis. These sessions are typically covered by insurance and require no special technology beyond a smart phone of computer. Call us to schedule an appointment (413) 73-CROSS
We’re rolling out new and exciting online Health and Wellness offerings – delivering on our promise to Redeem Mind, Body and Spirit. These services include group and one-on-one coaching and wellness training. Please note that we will also be providing two free meditation webinars on 5/18 and 5/23. Find out more and sign-up at this webpage. And to learn more about all of our Health and Wellness services, take look at this webpage.
We’re thrilled to announce that six of our clinicians are now fully certified Prepare/Enrich Facilitators. Prepare/Enrich is the international gold standard in marriage preparation and enrichment. We are planning an online webinar on this topic on May 29. Please check out the Events Section of our website to learn more. And Find out more about Prepare/Enrich in this short video https://vimeo.com/217220768
Victor Nunez-Ortiz: VA Central and Western Mass
VA Central Western Mass (CWM) is operating under special conditions:
With mission of geriatrics, mental health, and primary care, CWM closed its Community Living Center (CLC) early; is conducting drive-through testing; is supporting over 150 Soldier-On residents on its campus; patients are seen by appointment only in their CBOCs; practicing social distancing; and 90% of care is now being delivered virtually.
All VA locations are screening for respiratory illness and exposure to COVID-19.
Our Greenfield, Fitchburg, Worcester-Plantation Street, and Worcester-Lake Ave Clinics are closed effective Tuesday, March 24th, 2020, until further notice. For questions or concerns please contact the call center at 1(800) 893-1522.
Veterans Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day for urgent issues: 1(800) 273-8255, Press 1
When using telehealth services, VHA will provide a first line of defense by virtual screening for symptoms or exposure. Standardized screening questions are in place for all administrative call centers and Clinical Contact Centers (CCC).
At medical facilities, VHA is screening at all points of entry. Facilities will use standardized screening questions at appointment check in and during initial clinical screening.
In addition, VHA is strongly encouraging Veterans to call their local medical center before visiting the facility and advising Veterans to consider using VA’s telehealth and virtual care options like VA Video Connect. VA’s telehealth providers can evaluate their symptoms and provide a diagnosis and comprehensive care.
Stay well everyone!
Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
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