BROOKLINE — The Brookline Select Board, Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Swannie Jett would like to provide residents with an update on ways they can stay connected with their community and lend a helping hand to those in need as the COVID-19 emergency continues.
“Though many of us staying home in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, residents are still able to participate in the same community activities they enjoy, though in a different way,” Town Administrator Kleckner said. “We are grateful for everyone’s cooperation and hope you’ll utilize and enjoy the resources still available during this unique time.”
Safety Net Fund Still Seeking Support
The Brookline Community Foundation’s Safety Net Fund continues to accept donations to support members of the community who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 crisis.
The Safety Net Fund has been a longstanding resource for those who live, work or go to school in Brookline that provides aid in times of financial crisis.
Since the town pledged $175,000 to the Fund, residents and community members have shown their support by pledging an additional $75,075. Of that, nearly $14,000 was raised last week.
Click here to donate to the Safety Net Fund.
Brookline Senior Center Offering Remote Programming
The Brookline Senior Center is offering a variety of virtual activities and other programming remotely in order to help seniors remain connected to one another and the community.
Online Mindfulness Practice – Twice Weekly
The Brookline Senior Center is offering semi-weekly online mindfulness practice sessions. Join a video call from your computer or by phone every Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to practice mindfulness with members of your community, helping with relaxation and bolstering attention and insight. No previous experience is needed.
To join the video call, you can go to https://us04web.zoom.us/j/137115626 when it is time for the meeting to begin. Please email or call Michael Allen at [email protected] or 617-730-2754 with any questions.
Memory Connections Café – Wednesday, April 22 from 1:30-3:15 p.m.
Residents are invited to reminisce over “icebreaker” questions before being joined by Cailey Biles, reference librarian from the Brookline Public Library. Biles will discuss current online program offerings at the library, as well as answer any questions about accessing resources.
The event will also feature music therapist Emily Higgins who will lead us in an upbeat music therapy session. The event is made possible by the support of Season’s Hospice & Palliative Care.
This is a video/telephone conference where people are participating from home through a third party service system, and there are some special considerations about participant privacy that are different typical in-person meetings.
For details on how to connect, please contact Jamie Jensen at 617-730-2753 or email her at [email protected]
Brookline Bees Sewing Group – – Tuesday Mornings at 10:30 a.m.
The Brookline Bees Sewing Group is hosting weekly video meetings to stay connected while the Senior Center is closed. For information on how to connect, please send an email to [email protected]
Living Our Values – – Wednesdays from 9-10 a.m.
This discussion group is hosting weekly Zoom meetings to stay connected while the Senior Center is closed. To obtain a copy of the discussion material and for information on how to connect, please send an email to [email protected]
Qigong – – Tuesdays from 6-6:30 p.m.
Laura Kandziolka, our former Qigong instructor who relocated to Pennsylvania, is offering free live qigong classes on Facebook on Tuesday evenings from 6-6:30 pm. You don’t need a Facebook account to take part.
Just go to https://www.facebook.com/TaoAndZenHealing/ and click on the video menu to the left. You can also find past recorded sessions here as well. The sessions also come highly recommended by our current instructor, Dale Butler.
Combo Dance Fitness/Yoga Dance – – Saturdays from 11-11:50 a.m.
Emily Brenner, the Senior Center’s Zumba Gold instructor is offering a free virtual Combo Dance Fitness/Yoga Dance class on Saturday mornings from 11-11:50 a.m. thanks to a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
She is also offering some other donation based classes throughout the week:
Monday: 10 a.m. Zumba
Tuesday: 10 a.m. Strength/Low-Impact fitness (chair suggested, light hand weights or cans/water bottles as light weights optional)
Wednesday: 10 a.m. Let Your Yoga Dance
Thursday: 5 p.m. All levels Fitness (weights optional)
Saturday: 11 a.m. Combo Dance Fitness/Yoga Dance (Free class thanks to a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield)
To join any of Emily’s classes, please click here.
Online Dance Party with Lynn Modell – – Thursdays 2-2:30 p.m.
Lynn Modell will play music from 40s, 50s and 60s, as well as some from film musicals and participants will have a chance to dance together. Participants don’t need much space in their homes to participate, but they should make sure there aren’t any scatter rugs, uneven floor surfaces or objects on the floor that are trip hazards.
Contact her if you are interested at [email protected]
Public Library of Brookline’s Virtual Activities and Mask-Making
The Public Library of Brookline is offering a variety of digital services, remote events and activities to keep residents of all ages connected and active, even while its doors are temporarily closed.
Some of the virtual services currently being offered for PBL patrons include:
- Story time
- Gentle yoga sessions
- Dungeons and Dragons virtual tournaments
- Crafternoon programs, where residents can participate in virtual craft workshops
- English Language Learner (ELL) Classes
- Lego challenges
- Book clubs
- Board game design
- Midday matinee movie watching parties
- Girls Who Code virtual club meetings
- A Read-a-thon, where patrons are challenged to spend and log over 1,000 reading
A full calendar of upcoming programs and information on how to participate can be found here.
Staff are remotely available through the chat function on the Library’s website or by email to help patrons. If you have any questions, please click here.
Additionally, staff are using the Library’s 3D printers and sewing machines — which they’ve taken home with them — to make face shields and masks to donate to healthcare providers. The face shield components, once printed, are being provided to the Makery, a Brookline-based makerspace, for construction and donation to providers.
The Makery also has a variety of online resources, including project ideas and online classes for people to take advantage of through its Virtual Makery.
Library staff have donated 50 masks so far.
The library has also cleaned and delivered 300 books to Little Free Libraries throughout town. Click here for a map of their locations.
Friendly Caller Program
In an effort to combat the detrimental impacts social isolation can have on mental health, particularly for seniors and those who live alone, the Brookline Department of Public Health has partnered with FriendshipWorks to offer residents weekly check-ins through the Town’s COVID-19 Call Center.
FriendshipWorks volunteers who normally visit isolated individuals in person have modified their work, and are available to call and check in on isolated residents each week in order foster social connections during the stay-at-home advisory.
Trained FriendshipWorks volunteers make regular phone calls to residents who qualify for the program. Additionally, volunteers for the Emergency Preparedness Buddies Program to help assist isolated residents who may not qualify for the FriendshipWorks program.
Additionally, the town has adapted its Emergency Preparedness Buddies Program to help assist isolated residents who may not qualify for the FriendshipWorks program.
Trained volunteers affiliated with the Brookline Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Team are available to make regular phone calls (1-2 times/week) to isolated individuals who need extra social connection while practicing social distancing.
For more information about either program, please contact the COVID-19 Information Center at 617-879-5636 or email [email protected]
Blood donations remain in critical need during this time. While many locations are fully booked throughout the next month, residents who wish to donate are encouraged to make appointments to donate blood in May or June.
To find nearby donor centers or mobile blood drive locations, visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter your zip code.
The Kraft Family Blood Center will be holding an on-going blood drive at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough throughout April and May. Information and appointment sign-ups can be found online here. Those who wish to donate are required to make an appointment in advance and walk-ins are not allowed at this time.
Residents are encouraged to stay home unless absolutely necessary in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Residents may go outside to exercise, but are encouraged to practice social distancing if doing so.
Dr. Jett created a video for residents on ways they can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To view the video, click here.
The Town of Brookline’s COVID-19 website, BrooklineCOVID19.com, is updated regularly with a variety of information about the emergency’s impact on services and the community.