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Cafenation Reopens and Starts a New Chapter

Aidan McDonough - Thursday, January 07, 2021

In the uncertainty around the 2020 pandemic, our eyes pointed to some of our favorite long-lasting businesses in Brighton. Before any business aid or workers relief came to the surface, the future of some of these locally-owned neighborhood hotspots was unclear. And it was heartbreaking to hear that Cafenation, a Brighton mainstay since 2003, would be closing indefinitely at the end of March.

As businesses began to re-open in person as part of Massachusetts’ phase 2 reopening, many a Brightonite cast a hopeful eye on the Washington Street spot, which stayed dark and empty. It seemed it was the end for Cafenation, like so many beloved businesses in the Boston area. But behind the scenes, a new chapter for Cafenation was unfolding.

Caitlin Ryan, who was scouting to open a cafe in Oak Square, was introduced to Cafenation’s original owner Alvin a short while into quarantine. She saw the opportunity to “rescue” Cafenation and seized it.

As a former customer and neighbor to Cafenation, Caitlin saw the opportunity to take what Alvin had built—knowing how important it was to the community—and put her own stamp on it. She assured Alvin he’d be leaving the business in the hands of someone who cared. So Caitlin worked with him to secure the cafe and began working on revitalizing it, including gathering personal loans from folks in her network.

“That was the wind in my sails,” she says, “to know people really wanted it if they were willing to give resources. That was special. Significant.”

Once the deal was set at the end of July, she set up a GoFundMe to cover some of the initial costs, including renovations and repairs, improvements in decor and design, and other operational costs. The GoFundMe priced out incentives based on local references, like a $57 “Bus Route Special,” granting the contributor a free bagel and cream cheese with coffee. Larger patrons could partake in the $02,135 “Brighton Zip Code” special for either one after-hours venue rental OR free drip/iced coffee for one year.

And Caitlin made her mission with Cafenation clear on the GoFundMe page: “It's been a dream of mine to own a business and provide a place of connection for people, in a city prone to feeling transient,” she says. “My desire is to cultivate a space for people to share life, where customers feel they have ownership and a place they can use in many capacities - whether it be social, professional, or for after-hours entertainment to find a place of community and creativity.”


Caitlin has lived in Boston for 15 years, and has stuck around in Brighton both in her work and her community at Antioch Community Church. Caitlin’s church family is dedicated to giving back to the community, and she hopes to continue that work through Cafenation. This was clear this holiday season, as Cafenation guests were given the opportunity to “gift” menu items to neighbors by purchasing them in advance. And the cafe’s Christmas tree was adorned with wishlist items and different opportunities to give to local nonprofits.           

Moving forward, she sees Cafenation continuing to be a go-to and serving as a community space. This includes opportunities to use the cafe space after hours once Covid restrictions are lessened, focusing on questions like: How do we serve our neighbors, be a part of our community, and know their needs?

“I’ve been tracking Twelve Hours and how they feed people and do fun things,” she says. “And I’m starting to think: how do we build that into our business model to have more straight-up giving opportunities? Or building up our customer base as a vehicle for blessing other people and thinking creatively: how can we help facilitate other people giving forward in the community?”

She and the rest of the Cafenation staff are trying to be creative and pull people into what they value in the day-to-day. This drive, paired with Cafenation’s resilience, highlights the nature of community we’ve seen over and over in Brighton over the past year.

“Even though it’s weird to open a business in the middle of a pandemic, there’s this built in perspective that we and other people have, that it’s a bad time,” Caitlin says. “People really do want to be generous and are figuring out new creative ways to do that. People want these opportunities to give.”

 

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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.


 

 

Brighton's Small Businesses Take Care of Healthcare Workers

Aidan McDonough - Wednesday, January 06, 2021

We have seen businesses step up through changing their business models, hold drives for foods and basic goods for Brighton households, or simply provide a charitable hand and give a meal or loaf of bread to someone looking to close the gap. But very early on in the pandemic, we had the pleasure of connecting two businesses with some of Brighton’s own frontline workers. Both of these businesses happened to be brand new to the neighborhood, and yet they felt the needs to support Brighton healthcare heroes.

Before understanding the severity of COVID-19, BMS did routine check-ins to make sure we understood what was happening within our local businesses. I had stopped by Little Pecan Bistro owned by Elizabeth Liu, where I always strike up a conversation about what is going on in the neighborhood and things going on in our own lives. Elizabeth has a way of making anyone feel welcomed who stops by her small restaurant on the corner of Washington and Winship St. With case numbers growing at an exponential rate back in May and our hospitals and healthcare workers working day and night with longer shifts, Elizabeth wanted to provide a token of appreciation to these workers and asked if I could get her connected with any of the surrounding healthcare providers to provide donated meals. Carly Ring, Clinical Liaison and Community Outreach for Presentation Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center, reached out at the same time to Brighton Main Streets and was trying to organize this exact form of support. We immediately connected Elizabeth and Carly and the two women got to work in getting 20 meals together for the healthcare workers at Presentation.


Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen, owned by Jonathan Gilman & Alex Corona, wanted to provide a charitable contribution to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Only a few days into lockdown, Jonathan reached out to Brighton Main Streets and wanted to know how they could deliver donated meals to hospital workers. We connected Jonathan with St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and their workers were not only treated to Brato’s delicious dishes, but a couple of weeks later Elizabeth Liu from Little Pecan Bistro made a contribution of donated meals to the frontline workers. These two new businesses to the Brighton neighborhood stepped up to show healthcare workers how much their work means to our neighborhood. Showing healthcare workers how much their work means was a common charitable act among Main Street businesses, and these two businesses were not the only ones who contributed to supporting Brighton neighbors, frontline workers, and families during this very challenging time.

    

The common thread in the 2020 Season of Giving stories have shown that during tough times, turning towards one another for support makes us a more resilient and connected Brighton. Our community has stepped up for our neighbors, our neighbors have stepped up for businesses, and our businesses have stepped up for our community.

Help Brighton Main Streets by considering the Power of Giving Ten.

 


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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.


 

 

 

Daniel's Bakery Helps Brighton Get Through This Together

Aidan McDonough - Saturday, December 26, 2020

Almost two years ago, before our community had even heard of COVID-19 or the coronavirus, I was in Daniel’s Bakery picking up some pastries to bring to a meeting at my office. While there, a gentleman came in, who seemed to be struggling a bit. He explained to the cashier that he didn’t have any money, and was hoping for something to eat. The owner, Wanderléia Silva Ribeiro, came right over and told him to pick out anything he wanted, while making him a cup of coffee as well. He was very thankful after Wanda told him he could come in anytime he needed something to eat. From that day on, I knew I was going to be a loyal customer of Daniel’s Bakery, seeing them support a community member in such a generous way.

Having had this previous experience with the bakery, I wasn’t surprised to hear their generosity and efforts pop up again when Brighton Main Streets began researching how local businesses stepped up for the community during the peak of this pandemic!

I had the opportunity to chat with Wanda about how they were able to help the community out over the past 10 months. I mentioned there were many community members sharing how Daniel’s Bakery was giving out free loaves of bread to people who were in need, and I would love to know more about the details.

      

Wanda explained “We do two things with our loaves of bread. On Wednesdays we fill up a big basket in the bakery, and it’s still going on! Anyone who comes in and needs something, can take it.” When I inquired to see if she had any idea how many people they have helped, she said confidently, “At least 300 people, but probably many more! And this doesn’t include the other way we contribute with our bread. We are also working with the churches.”

I pressed on to hear more about her work with the churches and she explained that her church had been collecting baskets of food for community members in need, and to date they have provided loaves of bread for over 2,000 baskets! In addition, they have also been providing bread to the Allston-Brighton Congregational Church, near Wanda's storefront, with donations for their efforts in feeding the hungry.

Wanda’s parting words to me during our chat were “If everyone helps out, we can get through it together! We could help a lot of people.” Her mantra was the perfect sentiment to the 2020 Season of Giving, and to how the community will continue to come together and help each other in the new year.

          

Daniel's Bakery was the Brighton Main Street's 2017 Business of the Year.

 

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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.


 

 

Small Businesses Survive with Ingenuity

Aidan McDonough - Monday, December 21, 2020

Merriam Webster’s 2020 Word of the Year was “pandemic,” which for most is no surprise. What is curious is where “resilient” falls on that list. Families, schools, healthcare workers, universities, and especially small businesses have uprooted their routines and their norms to navigate the new normal. The Brighton business community came to a near screeching halt when everything shut down back in March. The news was always changing and trying to get onto a clear and concise path forward didn’t just happen, it took a lot of innovation and creativity for our local businesses to forge ahead. This Season of Giving story is aimed at highlighting some of this ingenuity we saw from our small businesses.

At first, businesses were required to have zero in-door dining and reduce their staff size by drastic amounts. With the many restaurants and places to grab a bite to eat that line our Main Streets district, this impact was felt throughout the neighborhood. Many of the businesses we are so used to taking the family out to, where we met up with friends, or introduced to a special someone were taking the menus you pondered in a booth to a delivery and takeout service. Businesses were even going as far to make interactions with customers contactless, to show an additional layer of precaution in keeping them safe. This was no solution, but it allowed them to earn a revenue while neighbors enjoyed their favorite Brighton cuisines. The Licensing Board even went as far as easing some of their restrictions, giving businesses with the required liquor license the ability to let their signature cocktails or brews be delivered to your door.

As the weather began to warm-up and COVID-19 case numbers declined, the City of Boston began to loosen up on some regulations that allowed businesses to have indoor dining at a reduced capacity but provided business owners the opportunity to apply for use of public space and create outdoor dining options around their business. There were restaurants who claimed parking spaces to provide “parkets” outside, taking over parking spaces to create enough space for safe dining with protective barriers to even further their customers’ experience. Businesses that had their own parking lots, were able to create even more expansive dining areas. And any businesses that weren’t able to take advantage of this, they continued to provide safe takeout options, even doing window pickups for your order.

 

               

Small businesses have been put through the wringer but have stepped up to every challenge. These are not perfect fixes for what our businesses have had to endure during the pandemic, but they have continued to step up to each of these challenges. The weather has changed and our businesses are facing another obstacle, but as neighbors we can continue to support each of them. Order takeout or pickup a gift card, you can purchase a growler and have it refilled through pickup and delivery, but as we highlight how businesses were resilient in providing us a continued go to, we can continue to think creatively about how we can support them.

Help Brighton Main Streets by considering the Power of Giving Ten.

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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.


 

Charlesview and Boston College Ensure Workers Get Relief

Aidan McDonough - Friday, December 18, 2020

“It has been a trying year…”, or, “These are unprecedented times…” are statements that have been said repeatedly in the last 9 months. The COVID-19 pandemic completely uprooted how any one of us function in everyday life. Many of us would ordinarily be traveling for the holidays and getting together with family and friends but have made tough decisions to keep this holiday season safe and merry for everyone. And while we have all struggled to adjust, there are neighbors, friends, or loved ones who have been impacted by this virus in a different way. Businesses and offices have had to shut down completely or alter their operations to avoid spreading the virus, and with that came layoffs or furloughing members of their workforce.

Aidan and the BMS Board of Directors organized and implemented a review process that allowed applicants to hear back within a few days, and began scheduling in-person pick-ups for their mini-grant recipients. BMS put in necessary safety precautions with masks required, social distancing measurements enforced, and plenty of hand sanitizer!

Even with the funding from Charlesview in place, BMS wanted to provide more aid to workers being impacted. As the initial funding started to run out, the team looked into other community partners. Boston College released its spring round of the Allston/Brighton Boston College Community Fund and Harvard University released its Emergency COVID-19 Relief Grant. BMS applied and was approved for additional funding from both institutions. With help from these community partners, Brighton Main Streets was able to assist 76 Brighton workers in the spring.

The holiday season is fast approaching, and a federal stimulus package to support our businesses remains uncertain, so Brighton Main Streets has successfully applied for the latest round of Boston College’s Allston/Brighton Boston College Community Fund grant. With it, BMS will reopen the Workers Relief Fund. BMS will be distributing $100 mini grants to help anyone who both lives and works in the Brighton neighborhood and has been laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic. When BMS shared the news with Jo-Ann Barbour at Charlesview, she stated, “Once again, Brighton Main Streets, embodies the Spirit of Giving with The Workers Relief Fund, to show our essential workers how much we care for and value each and every person during this very difficult time and always.”

 

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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.


 

Brighton Lodge of Elks Partner Across the Community

Aidan McDonough - Monday, December 14, 2020

When we initially began brainstorming for this year’s Season of Giving, The Elk’s Lodge of Brighton was highlighted for their work putting together the Non-Perishable Food Donation bins through the pandemic. I was excited to connect with Kelly McGrath, their Functions Manager, Facebook Page Moderator, and well-connected Brighton resident, to get more information about how this idea came about. When we began our discussion, Kelly explained in detail “we were contacted by Anabela Gomes at the beginning of the pandemic. She wanted to post bins around the Allston & Brighton neighborhoods for food donations to help support our neighbors and community members who needed it because they were struggling.” In our discussion I learned that The Elk’s immediately agreed and set up bins, organizing so that the items would be picked up periodically, and delivered to the West End House or the Oak Square YMCA as a pick up point for the community. The effort was well supported by Elk’s members, and other local Brighton businesses, and neighbors.

In chatting with Kelly, it became apparent very quickly that while this was a major project and undertaking during the pandemic, this was just one small example of their philanthropic efforts over the last 6 months! She explained “The Elk Lodge is constantly giving back to the community, but we don’t advertise it”, and I couldn’t agree more. During our discussion I learned about the organization’s major support for veterans in our area, including their work with supporting 27 formerly homeless veterans in receiving housing at the Brighton Marine campus. They have ongoing programs like “Operation Thank a Vet”, item donation bins set up inside year round, provide holiday gifts to veterans currently in shelters, and providing holiday care packages among the veteran community.

While the veteran community deserves much attention and support, this isn’t where the Elk’s stops their efforts. Kelly recalled “after a big storm at St Columbkille’s, we were contacted about the flag pole being damaged. Together with Brighton Marine, we were able to provide the necessary funds to have it repaired”. They support the Veronica B Smith Senior Center with an annual Thanksgiving celebration, and this year they have figured out how to roll with the pandemic challenges by helping put on a “Senior’s Virtual Wreath Decorating” event, allowing each participating senior to have a wreath, decorations, and more, provided ahead of time. The Elk’s utilized their events space to allow other organizations to continue their efforts as well, like the Forsyth Institute setting up a dental check-in location for local students, and for Three Piece Suit Football to host a virtual concert, which Kelly noted was inspired by Brighton Main Street’s Summer Concert Series, in efforts to support Operation Delta Dog.

As we wrapped up our discussion about all of the good work that The Elk’s provides to the Brighton community, I wanted to know if The Elks felt well connected to Brighton Main Streets. Kelly shared that they have had a wonderful experience with the organization, and enjoy being not only a community member, but a community resource. When Brighton Main Streets reached out to The Elks about assisting with the Brighton Center Tree Lighting, they happily agreed and teamed up with Rockland Trust, and will be making it happen for years to come. The Elk’s and the members of the organization are constantly on Brighton Main Streets social media accounts, supporting and promoting all of the good that both organizations are doing, and these efforts do not go unnoticed.

It was inspiring to chat with Kelly about everything they were involved with in helping the community during the pandemic. It takes a strong sense of community to remain organized and motivated during a time when the benefits of being part of a group like The Elks, like socialization and having a unique space to gather, were being banned. While The Elks “don’t advertise” how they give back to the Community, I think that it’s important as a community to remember to shine a light on their efforts!

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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.


 

 


 

 

 

Ghost and the Machine Helps Brighton Take Care of Each Other

Aidan McDonough - Friday, December 11, 2020

When businesses closed in March due to the pandemic, Ghost in the Machine owner Erik Rieth wasn’t sure how long the shutdown would last. And he didn’t know if the shop would reopen. After they had been closed for a week, he returned to Ghost in the Machine to “hibernate” the shop, unplugging unused appliances and grabbing any important paperwork. That’s when he realized he wanted to stay connected with the community that embraced his business.

In a “completely last-minute” move, he says, he ran up to CVS down the road and bought some food and essentials and placed them in a cardboard box on the shop’s front steps. He accompanied it with a simple sign: please take only what you need… leave what you can for your neighbors… take care of each other!

It was a simple idea: by mid-March, the state estimated roughly 18,000 jobs. The uncertainty of the pandemic meant long-term job prospects were simply unknown. And—we now know—hunger in Massachusetts doubled in 2020. So it made sense to Erik to offer an opportunity to give back to the community that had embraced the shop.

The idea took off and rapidly grew. Within a week, clients and staff reached out to tell him it was a great idea—and that it had already become self-sustaining. The goods Erik left were quickly taken, and were very quickly replenished by neighbors.

So Erik, who lives an hour away, made a massive trip to BJs, grabbing goods in bulk—and a large lidded plastic tote to hold it all. And people kept coming.

Within a couple of weeks, it seemed all of Oak Square was talking about “The Box.” Neighbors dropped by necessities, extra kitchen utensils, coats, gloves, and other small bits. The #BrightonMA hashtag lit up with photos of the box, encouraging neighbors to come by and drop off goods or to pick up things they needed.

Now that Ghost in the Machine has reopened, they no longer have space on their stoop for a box—and coronavirus precautions mean only clients with appointments can enter the shop. He’s looking forward to planning more ways to help in 2021, including planning an upcoming raffle in which proceeds will go to feeding others. And he’s excited to see the neighborhood come together to support this initiative, as they did back in March.

“The neighborhood really stepped up,” Erik says. “A lot of people said to me, ‘I want to help but I don’t know how.’ This was an easy way to help.”


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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.

 


 

Blue Circle Yoga Keeps Brighton Connected

Aidan McDonough - Friday, December 04, 2020

To celebrate the 2020 Season of Giving, I sought out to recognize Brighton businesses that showcased resiliency and community throughout the year. Blue Circle Yoga came to me quickly in my brainstorm. 

When Evan Mahan opened Blue Circle Yoga on October 19, 2019, he was surprised by the outpouring of support from the studio’s Brighton neighbors.

“When we started, we were totally embraced by the community,” he says. “It was greater than anything I could have anticipated. This was my first business so everything was new to me and it quickly exceeded what I could have anticipated this business moving to.”

Blue Circle’s classes and membership grew heading into the new year, and the team hit the ground running. But on March 13, after two days of no sales—a first for the studio—Blue Circle closed down due to the pandemic.

Evan printed out a sign saying “see you in two weeks” and taped it to the front door, as did many other Brighton businesses. When it became clear that the shutdown would last longer than two weeks, Evan made the choice to pivot to the online space. The Blue Circle staff began offering live classes on Instagram for anyone to watch and take part in.

It was important to Evan to make these classes available to everyone, as he knew hundreds of people were being quickly laid off. He froze everyone’s memberships, no questions asked, and switched to a donation-based pay model. Blue Circle members rallied together, offering enough financial support to cover the studio’s regular finances.

In July, after months of virtual-only classes, Evan was eager to bring the community together physically. So he reached out to Education First (EF) Brighton, where he had previously hosted introductory classes for the community, and set up a plan to host outdoor classes on their lawn.

Blue Circle instructors led the outdoor classes, set up with cones spaced out by 15 feet, where students placed their mats to partake at safe distances. The support outmatched what Blue Circle had experienced virtually. Evan noted that, more than ever, students were thanking instructors after class for the opportunity to engage outside. He heard “you have no idea how much I needed this” more times than he could count. Being able to interact in proximity to work together for an hour towards the class’s final rest was the hallmark between virtual and outdoor sessions.

With beautiful weather, unique collaborations, and the Blue Circle community together at last, Evan says “we had a blast all summer.” He takes pride in the fact that despite the year’s challenges, Blue Circle managed to hold classes in three different studios in 2020: their physical studio, then virtually, and at last, outdoors in a large space surrounded by beautiful trees.

“There are many moments when you want to pack up and run away, but it’s the people that keep you there,” he says. “These are very challenging times, and I think when things get tough is when people need these outlets, the support from other members of the community, and the businesses to support the community. We just kept on running towards the problem rather than away from it.”

Evan tells us he’s really proud of the way Blue Circle’s staff and instructors showed up, both for the studio as well as the students who kept showing up week after week. These students, he said, showed how well the classes gave an escape from day-long Zoom calls, being stuck in the house, or the general stress and uncertainty we all experienced.

Now that the weather is getting cold and the daylight ends early, Blue Circle is transitioning back to virtual-only class offerings. They celebrated their one-year anniversary this October, and plan to bunker down ahead of the holiday season and potentially their biggest challenge yet. But Evan isn’t phased. He’s excited to embrace this challenge hand in hand with the neighborhood.

“There’s no place I'd rather be than with the people we have and this community. These people are just incredible. It’s remarkable.”

 

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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration?  Read more Power of 10 stories.  


 

 

Liz Breadon with FriendshipWorks and Women's Table Give to Presentation Rehab

Aidan McDonough - Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Heading into the Holiday season we can reflect on 2020 being one of the most trying years in our history. As a skilled nursing facility who serves our Community’s senior population, Presentation Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Center is an organization of Brighton who can attest to just how trying the Global Pandemic has been. Like many, their Community was affected by Covid-19 in early Spring, but while the News supported local Boston area Hospitals and cheered them on as they worked diligently to protect patients, Nursing Homes were left either forgotten, or even worse bashed.

When the Allston Brighton Health Collaborative began meeting and discussing how area businesses and neighbors could help, it was City Councillor Liz Breadon’s Office, FriendshipWorks, and The Women’s Table who came together, along with Oak Square neighbors, in direct support of Presentation Rehab’s staff and residents! As the Brighton Main Streets team sat down to discuss who we should be highlighting as part of this year’s Season of Giving, it was clear that this group had a special story to share.

I reached out to the organizers of these efforts, including City Councilor Liz Breadon & her representation Pam Mullaney, Kara Jeter of FriendshipWorks, and Mary Rita Weschler of The Women’s Table and Sisters of St Joseph of Boston. We met together on a Zoom chat, which was very fitting as we discussed the Pandemic, what support was provided to Presentation Rehab, and what their support meant to the facility.

Between Liz, Kara and Mary Rita they were able to organize three very special moments for Presentation during a time that people had begun to lose their spirit. Two of the events were when representatives from area businesses, organizations and neighbors safely congregated in the courtyard at Presentation, and simply began cheering. But while the action was simple, the moment met everything. People from all over town, with posters in hand, stayed outside of the Rehab Center while clapping and shouting their support. The staff and residents at the center were caught by surprise, and surrounded the windows inside the building so they could see outside and hear the support. For it to happen two times, the entire facility felt the love they needed to keep going!

As the days continued on, Liz, Kara and Mary Rita reached out to Presentation Rehab directly, to discuss what more they could do for the employees. They discussed tons of ideas, from dropping off baked goods, bringing in lunches, or even a balloon archway, but with the reality of the Pandemic and preventing the spread of Covid-19, they had to be careful with the final decision. The idea of providing every employee with a beautiful plant to take home, along with handwritten thank you cards, was ultimately the perfect match for what the group wanted to provide. Mary Rita recalled, when she went to the Garden Center at the home improvement store they were picking the plants up at, she was wearing proper PPE including a mask, some gloves, and was happy to see the outside area of the store was hyper vigilant with safety protocols. Once inside the store, it was a stark contrast, as the inside was packed with people, desperate for a sense of normalcy and shopping, highlighting yet again that this Pandemic had really turned our world upside-down.

   

On the day that the plants were set up and delivered, the staff at Presentation was blown away. Since the facility had begun communicating directly with Liz, Kara and Mary Rita, the employees there knew a surprise was coming, but had no idea what to expect. On the day these plants were displayed in the courtyard, there was signage indicating they were for the staff of Presentation to take home and enjoy. To this day, many of the staff members of the facility still have their thriving plants, and the thank you cards that accompanied them were kept and cherished.

During a year that a Global Pandemic changed our lives, it was an honor to get the chance to reflect with such a supportive group of Women who gave up their own time, efforts, creativity, and connections. For the 2020 Season of Giving, it’s obvious to me that there are businesses who support the Community, but also Community who support the businesses.

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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.


 

 

 

It's obvious why Twelve Hours is Brighton's 2020 Business of the Year

Aidan McDonough - Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Dining out or ordering take-out had become an oversight or a simple afterthought in how someone could support our local businesses, and in Brighton there are just an amazing array of delicacies and cuisines that sprawl across our Main Street district to choose from. Picking the right place to buy your next meal is always a challenge. When COVID-19 first hit, and the world was forced to a screeching halt, it meant for many businesses a decrease in foot traffic from customers, indoor dining became nearly nonexistent to completely gone, and uncertainty for what the future may hold was on many people’s minds. For some residents, the pandemic meant a loss of a job, loss of an income, and a loss of knowing where their next meal was coming from. With so much uncertainty and hurt going on in so many households and storefronts, it was all the more impactful to hear how Brighton Main Street’s 2020 Small Business of the Year was responding to this trying moment.

 

Twelve Hours Boston opened up on the Brighton Main Street in 2016. “The concept of Twelve Hours is simple for Asian people like me. We grew up eating fried rice and noodles so it is common for the soup broth to take twelve hours to boil and make.” Tarita, owner of Twelve Hours Boston, explained to us in the lead up for our Mask-erade! Digital Cocktail Hour. Tarita has an extensive background in Asian culinary dining. Born in Thailand, Tarita has been involved in restaurants for as long as she can remember. She began by helping out in her grandmother’s restaurant as a little girl. Later on, while in school she took on internships that put her in countries like New Zealand, China, and Singapore, expanding Tarita’s understanding of what Asian Fusion dishes can become. After a few years of professional experience in hotels, Tarita decided to pursue her Master’s at Johnson & Wales, and when that chapter ended, another began.

Tarita moved to Allston-Brighton and with her young family, extensive knowledge on Asian Fusion cuisine, her Master’s Degree, and was ready to start her own restaurant. She opened Twelve Hours Boston, and has grown her business to become a neighborhood staple. COVID-19 struck, and Tarita knew from what she was seeing and hearing that this was going to be unlike anything anyone has ever experienced. “I saw that so many families and businesses were struggling, including my own. This pandemic has just been so hard for everyone. Even early on, a few times I thought to myself, ‘Should I close down the business?’” Tartita shared. “No one knew just how long this difficult time would go on for, but then I told myself that if I give up now - then what about my Twelve Hours Boston team? Or my customers and friends, who always have cheered me up and appreciated the hard work we have put into the restaurant? At that moment, I realized that instead of drowning under the water why don’t I just swim up to the surface and take my team with me. We began collaborating and thinking as to how we can be helping others out and bring back happiness and smiles to our neighborhood.”

      

Tarita and the crew at Twelve Hours Boston began by setting up a stand outside the restaurant and distributed free meals to those in need. Now every Wednesday, if you are in need, Twelve Hours Boston will provide neighbors with the reassurance that they have one less meal to worry about. They do not check your ID or employment status, if you simply show up, Tarita’s team will help. As the weeks have passed, Tarita mentions that through all of their work, “...some people we have become friends with, even consider some as family. Like Amada and her mom at Amada’s Flowers, or Dana’s Nail Salon, Erik from Ghost in the Machine Tattoo and many more people within the Brighton Community. We have each other's back, caring and supporting one another. I feel like by starting our Free Food Wednesday project, I have gained more than I lost as I have earned a lot of smiles, friendships, and happiness.”

Help Brighton Main Streets by considering the Power of Giving Ten.

 

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If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.

Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.


 

 


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