Summer News from Neddy

Greetings from the Spanish American Center! We hope everyone is feeling well and safe. The SAC staff have all been back working from the Center since early in June, from 8:30am to 12:30pm, and from 1:00pm to 4:30pm remotely from home. We are answering phone calls, responding to emergencies, keeping applications for our food pantry which continues to run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 to 12pm. 
Participating on Zoom and phone conferences weekly, we have adopted new techniques to meet the needs of all the programs we offer. The Center remains closed to the public until further notice, for client and public safety. As we evaluate, cautiously, the needs of our community in the weeks ahead we will update everyone via our social media/web site platforms.
We began the Grab-n-Go meals on June 1 st  from SAC and continue to reach out to the community regarding our Summer Youth Program. As of this issue, we are sponsoring some sites with breakfast and lunch, and some others with snack and dinners. Our goal was to sponsor 20 sites this year however, due to the pandemic, we have had to become flexible to adapt to the needs here in our community - for example, adding the provision of the supper and afternoon snacks.
In other news:
  • We are happy to introduce our newest hire - Ms. Susan Buchholz. Susan will be working on a grant specific to identification of ways that community services mitigate the use of street drugs/addiction illness.. This important research is funded through the HEALing Communities Study.
  • We are also seeking funding for implementation of leadership training - a response to the nationwide quest for racial and social justice driven by the Black Lives Matter movement. If we are selected we will expand our role as a community leader with more defined actions to respond to discrimination and issues of systemic racism endured by our clients, staff and supporters. We thank our Nicolas Formaggia, Esq. for his assistance with this proposal.
  • We wish to acknowledge the recent funding from The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, CHNA#9, Fallon Health, Albertson's Foundation, FEMA and The United Way of NC Massachusetts for assistance with funds for Covid-19 related services we provide.
  • We will continue to update everyone on our evolving policies and methods of operation but, for now, masks, remote contacts and staggered work schedules at the Center continue so that we may ensure everyone's safety.

Best to all,

Leominster Spanish American Center
Packaging items.
We start our days before sunup. planning, prepping and packaging our "Grab-n-go" meals to deliver to pick up centers in Leominster, Fitchburg, Gardner & Winchendon.
José Latimer
Manager, SAC's Kitchen Programs
Leominster Spanish American Center
Summer Nutrition Funders:
Attorney General's Office
Healthy Summer Kids Program
Project Bread
Leominster Spanish American Center
W e are pleased to introduce Ms. Susan Buchholz as our newest member of our staff. Susan is currently doing research for the NIH/Federally--funded HEALing Communities Study . Her title is Community Coordinator.
Susan is a life-long resident of Central Massachusetts. She has worked in social services for more than 30 years. Susan has a passion for working to improve the human condition and is particularly drawn towards work which promotes health equity and social justice. Susan received her Bachelor of Science in human service management from Leslie University, Cambridge and is currently enrolled at Johns Hopkins University pursuing a master’s in public health. Susan was recently chosen as a Bloomberg Fellow. We welcome her and look forward to becoming
involved in her research on this important subject!
A visit from Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Congressman Jim McGovern was at the Spanish American Center, Inc. in Leominster, Massachusetts on
June 5, 2020. Per Congressman McGovern:
"Thank you to Neddy Latimer and everyone at the The Spanish American Center, Inc. in Leominster for your incredible work to make sure people in our community have access to good nutritious meals. It was a privilege volunteering with you today. I encourage everyone in our community to find a good cause that you can support & give back however you can!" Thank You! Muchas Gracias!
Sadly, we have cancelled our annual summer community block party for 2020 due to Covid-19 precautions. Stay healthy and we will see you next year.
Spotlight on community - Hispanic owned businesses!
About the Owner
"Rodrigo Souza is an authentic, natural entrepreneur. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Rodrigo immigrated to the US in September 2001 at the age of 18. Having little knowledge of the English language, Rodrigo enrolled in high school in Hudson Ma. to learn English. His early days in the US he found his passion for food & hospitality business. He began his career at Vinny Testa's as a roller guy preparing silverware for guest and quickly advanced to the front of the house to become a server. His entrepreneurial nature kicked in and he opened his first Comeketo restaurant in Leominster in 2009. Within five years, he moved to a larger location(in 2014) which he later renovated to become a full-service Brazilian Steakhouse in 2018. During his career, Rodrigo has served the US Army for 3 years and devoted many hours to his local community. Rodrigo is a very optimistic, creative & positive person who has his eyes set on bigger and greater goals to achieve. He attributes his work ethic and positive nature to his continued growth as a businessman and individual. Currently a member of the board of Massachusetts Restaurant Association "-Comeketo Web Site
We are pleased to add that Mr. Sousa is the newest member of our Board of Directors!
Comeketo Brazilian Steakhouse
(978) 466-1224
Updates and reflections from Puerto Rico
by Sonia Rodriguez
(Editor’s note – Our Sonia Rodriguez recently made a trip to Puerto Rico to attend to important family needs. I asked her for her personal “on the ground” impressions of conditions there. We hope her input may be helpful to our local Puerto Rican readers, families and friends.)
As you get to the airport and before you exit it, a team of health care people and the National Guard wait for you. They take your temperature, your phone number asks questions such as: where do you come from and what it’s your phone number? What’s the purpose of your visit/ Where are you going to be located at? For how long will you be on the island? Among other things they ask you if you want to do a test right then and there.
Everyone seemed to be observing the Coronavirus protocols of wearing their masks at the airport and outside as well. I observed that if you go to a store they take your temperature, and spray your hands with a type of sanitizer. The cases were very much under control until the 4 th of July celebrations when they opened the beaches and you could see a lot of young people in large groups not observing their distance and not wearing their masks, as you can see in the daily news.
The earthquakes are still a constant threat and continue almost every day on the southwest part of the island. (I did not travel to that area for fear of encountering one myself and driving with family members in the car). Some people are still displaced from their homes including those that never recuperated from Hurricane Maria. You can still observe some roofs wearing blue tarps waiting for the government to provide assistance. Which is trailing slow due to the restrains/strict guidelines from the Federal government and the incompetence or greediness of some politicians that have to do with governing the island.
In spite of all this, the Puerto Rican people are strong and relentless --they have a drive to live as “normal” as they can and you can see them shopping, socializing, drinking on road side bars that offer food as well. They love to have fun and enjoy their lives to the maximum. Many of them carry on with their lives as if nothing ever happened. They are traveling mainly to mainland, and taking vacations on the island’s resorts as well.
After I left, the island’s the governor was enforcing and implementing rules to keep the virus from spreading even more and faster. People or tourists that arrive at the island are required to have a very recent Covid test and I know that towns and cities had a curfew. After10:00pm, no one is supposed to be on the streets. Also, schools, political campaigns, graduations, etc. are mostly done through the media. - July, 2020
All Care Medical and Register of Probate at SAC!
Another 700 items delivered thanks to All Care Medical Supply Corporation! Here at The Spanish American Center, Inc.
"It was wonderful to hear about the great work Neddy Latimer and her husband (Jose´ Latimer) are doing at the The Spanish American Center, Inc. in Leominster. They use 38 loaves of bread a day to help make and distribute lunches to seniors and families across 3 towns! We gave them several hundred loaves to use for this week. " - Allcare & Reg. Stephanie Fattman
¡Muchas Gracias!
Thank You!
Representatives from ALLCARE Medical Supply and WC Register of Probate, Stephanie Fattman donate food items to SAC!