Harvard Square Business Association Newsletter
News and Updates from Harvard Square
Thank you Frontline Workers and
City of Cambridge Leaders
You make us proud!

Dear Friends:

As we grapple with the pace in which things are changing and comply with the Governor’s stay-at-home advisory and closure of non-essential businesses through May 4 th , we affirm our commitment to our business district, our community and all our residents be they essential employees hard at work, at home, in shelters or unsheltered.

It is in that light that we send heartfelt thanks to our doctors, nurses, police, fire, EMT's, postal workers, grocers, delivery drivers and all those on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, we thank City of Cambridge political and civic leaders for their fast action in helping to feed the most vulnerable in our city - our homeless men and women. 

On Thursday, March 19 th , Matt Nelson from City Manager Lou DePasquale’s office reached out to ask for help coordinating a program whereby the city would purchase food from local restaurants to be delivered to shelters throughout the city. We were honored to lead this effort in Harvard Square; within two days, 15 eateries were signed up to provide over 700 meals to 5 organizations for 7 days beginning with breakfast the following Monday morning, March 23rd.

There are so many positives to this program: the hungry are being fed, restaurants have orders to fill, workers are earning a wage and shelter volunteers are breathing sighs of relief. Volunteers who have been preparing meals in various shelter kitchens are adhering to the no-gathering order. They shared their concerns over the dilemma of feeding a population in need. Because of this program, their concerns have been allayed; the homeless are being fed and the city will continue this effort through the crisis.

Unprompted, Cambridge Savings Bank President and CEO, Wayne Patenaude, reached out to ask how CSB could help. We asked if they would provide water and soft drinks to accompany the 700 meals. CSB staff immediately purchased and delivered beverages to the programs. Mr. Patenaude's quick action and generous contributions were so gratefully received.     

After the first week, we reached out to the Harvard Square shelters and restaurants which included Zinneken’s, Chutneys, Otto Pizza, Black Sheep Bagel Café, Subway - Harvard Square, Pinocchio’s Pizza & Subs, Orinoco Kitchen, Veggie Grill - Harvard Square, Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe, Bon Me, Tanjore, Broadway Marketplace, El Jefe Taqueria, Ole Mexican Grill and Nirvana, Taste of India to debrief on the deliveries of both the food and beverages. Here is what they had to say:

Shelter Testimonials:

“First Church Shelter is extremely grateful to participate in and benefit from this partnership. The food has been great and the help it has provided could not have arrived at a more opportune moment.”
-        Jim Stewart, First Church Shelter

“We at the Harvard Square Churches Meal Program would like to again thank the four restaurants that served our guests last Thursday night...Cardullo's, Orinoco Kitchen, Otto's, and Veggie Grill...as well the delivery driver who presented us with several cases of water and soda. Having served a meal every Thursday night at Christ Church since 1982, we have never had our meal catered by the chefs in Harvard Square before.

We, as well as all our guests, were delighted with the variety of choices, the freshness of the meals and the selfless service of the four restaurants. During this unusual and trying time, to find community within our community is powerful. We definitely are the ones who care about our city and its peoples. 
-        Judy Siemen, Christ Church (Thursday Meals, Christ Church)

“Thanks so much for all you did to make this happen! On Sunday afternoon, the Outdoor Church's team delivered the 150 meals we received to homeless men and women around Harvard and Central Squares. With most of the places they would normally go to for food shut down, everyone we met was far hungrier than usual. Folks were grateful to receive such substantial (and delicious) meals. It's not every Sunday that we get to serve taco bowls, curried vegetables and individually boxed pizzas! Thank you for making it possible for us to serve the most vulnerable among us in a moment of great need.”
-        Tom Hathaway, Outdoor Church

“The Friday Café was delighted to receive our first 100 prepackaged meals on March 20, featuring some of Harvard Square’s best fare: pizza from Pinocchio’s, Mexican chicken plates from El Jefe, Tikka Masala from Tanjore and sandwiches from Broadway Market—plus much needed bottled water and sodas from Cambridge Savings Bank. For many of our guests, this was their first food of the day and they were delighted and very appreciative. Thanks so much to organizers and participants for this very successful program!”
-        Kate Layzer, First Church/Friday Cafe

“Since Y2Y Harvard Square is an entirely student-run shelter, it was a difficult transition for our staff to have to move out of dorms while also working to reshape shelter policies and operations in light of the pandemic. However, this program meant that food was one less piece we would have to worry about. Everything was quite seamless, from the initial communication to the actual deliveries each day, and we’re incredibly grateful to all of the people involved in making this possible. Our staff has worked hard to fight to keep Y2Y open, and it’s amazing that we’re able to continue providing a variety of meals for our guests due to this program.”
-        Sanjana Ramrajvel , Y2Y

Restaurant Testimonials:

“First and foremost, we want to thank the City of Cambridge and the HSBA for asking OTTO to participate in the shelter meals program last week. OTTO is very proud that we were able to provide individual boxed pizza meals to the Y2Y and Christ Church community. We received many thank you notes from both of the organizations, as well as from the members of the community who enjoyed the pizzas. Many people came by the store personally to say thank you - that meant a lot! Programs like this help us weather the crisis and keep our staff paid while providing nourishment and comfort to the homeless community during this trying time. Thank you everyone involved! We are looking forward to continuing our participation in this wonderful program and to continue providing hot meals to the members of the community.”
-        Erik Maas, OTTO

“We at Orinoco are most grateful for the opportunity to do our part in facilitating this wonderful initiative whose goal of helping those in need at the time of this national crisis is of such consequence and importance in so many ways. The City of Cambridge is looking out for the most vulnerable amongst us and by doing so has made better citizens of us all. We at Orinoco look forward to continuing helping those in need.”
-        Martha Garcia, Orinoco

We had wonderful experiences at both shelter locations! We were greeted so warmly by the dedicated volunteers, they made drop off so easy. The best part for us was meeting and re-connecting with the community of long standing Cardullo's loyalists. We were honored to be a part of the program.”
-        Kim Wilson, Cardullo’s

“Bon Me is extremely grateful to the HSBA for connecting us with the City of Cambridge to make meals for the area's homeless shelters. We've enjoyed participating in this program and supporting some of the local efforts throughout our communities to help those most in need.”
-        Laura Flagg, BonMe

“This is a challenging time for all of us. Our business is already being greatly impacted with loss of sales as guests choose to work from home and cutting down on deliveries. We believe that this impact will be felt for quite some time and we must be prepared to deal with it. It was our pleasure to serve 100% plant-based food to our community. We are very pleased to be part of the meal program and appreciative of the opportunity at this difficult time.”
-        KC Brijesh, Veggie Grill

“You guys are doing an incredible job of protecting the most vulnerable ones in this pandemic situation. Thank you for reaching out to us. We were glad that we could help in this time of crisis. We care about our community and we together will get through this.”
-        Subin Dheke, Tanjore
As this crisis continues to unfold over the upcoming days and weeks, we know we can count on city leaders to continue to be innovative and fast-acting. Over the years, Lou DePasquale, as Finance Director and now City Manager, has been a fiscally-responsible leader.

Along with City Manager DePasquale, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, who promised in her inaugural address to care for the most defenseless in our community, and their respective teams are working around the clock to provide food, shelter, showers, medicine, clothing, and up-to-the minute information for residents and business owners. We applaud their efforts and are so proud of the city and its leaders. 

The heartwarming press around this effort is a testament to this programs forward-thinking and importance:


The program, which is now being fully coordinated by the city, has been expanded to include more restaurants and more social service organizations. We are grateful to Harvard Square Business Association officers, board of directors and members for their continuing support of our steadfast 110-year old association. Their unwavering dedication, significant resources and commitment to our community allowed to help out in this way. 

It was a privilege to be useful during this time; we are thankful for the opportunity to serve. 

With appreciation,
Denise Jillson
Executive Director
Harvard Square Business Association
Office: (617) 491-3434
Mobile: (617) 945-6061
Online Activities in Harvard Square
As people are sheltering-in over the next several weeks, the need for virtual activities will be an important and essential part of daily routines. Isolation, loneliness and the lack of activity create their own kind of unhealthiness.    

To combat that, some of our businesses are hosting online activities – from yoga classes to concerts. We created a webpage which will be updated as activities become available. More information here .
The following Harvard Square Eateries and Retail Stores remain open…

Amorino Gelato – Take out 
Berryline – Take out & Delivery 
Black Sheep Bagel Cafe - Take out & Delivery via GrubHub or other
Bluestone Lane - Take out
BonChon - Take out & Delivery
Broadway Marketplace -Take out & Delivery 
Charlie’s Kitchen - Take out
Chutney’s - Take out & Delivery
Cilantro Chinese Cuisine - Take out & Delivery
Darwin’s - Take out & Delivery
El Jefe’s Taqueria - Take out & Delivery 
Felipe’s Taqueria - Take out
Grendel’s Den – Take Out & Delivery
J.P. Licks - Take out & Delivery
Le’s - Take out & Delivery 
Nirvana, Taste of India – Takeout & Delivery
Ole Mexican Grill – Takeout & Delivery
One Ramen – Takeout & Delivery**
Orinoco – Takeout & Delivery**
Otto – Takeout & Delivery
Pinocchio’s Pizza – Takeout & Delivery**
Shake Shack – Takeout & Delivery**
Subway – Takeout
Tanjore – Takeout & Delivery**
Veggie Grill – Takeout & Delivery**
Wholesome Fresh – Open (No buffet foods available)
Zinneken’s – Takeout & Delivery**
Zoe’s – Takeout (8:00am-2:00pm)

**Delivery only available through third party apps (UberEats, GrubHub, etc.

The Office of Inspector General  recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and is alerting the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest financial assistance bill to date, includes provisions to help small businesses. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners during these economically difficult times. Be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing.

Scam and Fraud Scheme Advisory List 

The SBA does not initiate contact on either 7(a) or Disaster loans. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.

The SBA does not provide grants to small businesses. The SBA provides guarantees to lenders to encourage them to make loans to small businesses. If you are contacted via social media about an SBA grant program for small businesses, suspect fraud.

If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA loan but requires any payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud.

Look out for phishing attacks/scams utilizing the SBA logo. These may be attempts to obtain your personally identifiable information (PII) to obtain personal banking access, or to install ransomware/malware on your computer.

If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for PII, ensure that the referenced application number is consistent with the actual application number.

The SBA limits the fees a broker can charge a borrower to 3% for loans $50,000 or less and 2% for loans $50,000 to $1,000,000 with an additional .25% on amounts over $1,000,000. Any attempt to charge more than these fees is inappropriate.

Any email communication from the SBA will come from accounts ending with gov.

The presence of an SBA logo on a webpage does not guaranty the information is accurate or endorsed by the SBA. Please cross-reference any information you receive with information available at  sba.gov .

If you have a question about getting an SBA disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to  disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

If you have questions about other SBA lending products, call the SBA’s Answer Desk at 800-827-5722 or send an email to  answerdesk@sba.gov .

Report Fraud
Report any suspected fraud to OIG’s Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online
the red house - Easter Dinner Take Out
the red house restaurant is now accepting orders for Easter Dinner.
Order online, by phone or email, or click the menu for an order form .

Yesterday was US Census Day!
Have you completed yours?

37th Annual MayFair Cancelled
While it can go without saying, but because we have received e-mails, phone calls and messages, we officially announce that Harvard Square’s 37th Annual MayFair celebration has been cancelled.
Later this year when this crisis has passed, as allowed and when appropriate, we will plan a beautiful gathering to celebrate music, dance, food, and family.
In the meantime, please take care, stay well and stay safe. 
Harvard Square Business Association
Two Brattle Square, Mezzanine
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 491-3434