Fourth of July fireworks, festival canceled

Haverhill's annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration at Riverside Park has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor James Fiorentini said.

All other large public events planned for this summer in Haverhill have been canceled as well.

“Unfortunately, it’s not going to be possible to have public events this summer with large crowds of people in close contact with each other,” Fiorentini said. “But we are going to find another way to celebrate the birth of our nation.”

The mayor said he is considering several alternate ideas to celebrate Independence Day and would have more to say about that soon.

Decisions about smaller public events will be made on a case-by-case basis, the mayor said. No events that draw more than 10 people should be planned, he said.

Fiorentini said he decided to make the cancellation announcement about the Fourth of July fireworks celebration now because it usually requires about five weeks to plan the event.

Area blood drives in May

The American Red Cross is holding a series of blood drives in the area. 

As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, all who come to give blood or platelets May 15 to 31 will receive a special Red Cross “We’re all in this together” T-shirt by mail, while supplies last. Donors must have a valid email address on file to claim their T-shirt.

Healthy people are asked to make an appointment to donate this month by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-733-2767 or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Donors must wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Blood drives this month are as follows:

Methuen, May 26 and 27 from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 462 Broadway

Sandown, N.H., May 28 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sandown Town Hall, 320 Main St.

Tribute to Women to go virtual

The YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts' 37th Annual Tribute to Women will go live with a virtual broadcast Tuesday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m.

The internet link to join the event will be sent one week prior to the event.

Since 1983, the YWCA’s Tribute to Women awards luncheon has recognized more than 1,200 Merrimack Valley and North Shore women leaders from business and community organizations. Women honored come from all walks of life. Their contributions are varied, and all are remarkable in their own way.

"Again this year, we have a marvelous group of 22 honorees, representing more than 11 industries," said YWCA Executive Director Susan Staples. "Clearly, there is no shortage of talented, committed women making an impact within our service area."

The event's diamond sponsor is Pfizer Inc. For sponsorship information, visit ywcanema.org/getting-involved/events/tribute-to-women.

The 2020 Tribute to Women honorees are: Ann Jones, president, Greater Haverhill Art Association; Margaret Glenn, program manager, Center for Corporate and Community Education at Northern Essex Community College; Julie LaFontaine, president, Open Door Gloucester; Andreina Viera, CEO, The Vieras; Karen Gomes, CEO, Home Health Foundation; Mary Lyman, director of community relations, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center; Julia Silverio, founder, Silverio Insurance Agency; Vilma Martinez-Dominguez, Lawrence community development director; Linda Siegenthaler, retired community advocate; Nancy Clover, president, Occupational Health Connections Inc.; Sabrina Boggio, founder, Progress Clothing; Gini Mazmann, founder and director, the Haven Project in Lynn; Paula Westmacott, vocational coordinator, Andover High School; Nancy Berry, editor, RMS Media Group (North Shore Magazine); Cheryl Parent, senior branch manager vice president, Enterprise Bank; Wanda Gomez, vice president of residential services, Fidelity House CRC; Linda Soucy, low-income energy efficiency program manager, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts; Patricia Ahern, CEO, Home Health Foundation; Margaret Marotta, superintendent, Haverhill Public Schools; Catalina Dongo, director of human resources, UniFirst Corporation; Nancy Stager, executive vice president Eastern Bank Foundation; and Linda Harvey, executive director, Harvey Girls Inc.

For more information, contact Jeanne Osborn at 978-788-6339.

First-time homebuyer training is by video

Community Action's First Time Homebuyer Education Program will take place via video conference for area residents beginning Wednesday, May 27, at 6 p.m.

Participants will receive comprehensive information offered by various housing professionals.

A Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative approved certificate is awarded after completion of the three-night video conference course. The program is also approved by MassHousing. The dates for the course are Wednesday, May 27; Thursday May 28; and Tuesday, June 2. All classes will be offered by video conference from 6 to 9 pm. The cost is $60 per household.

There are no income requirements. Sign up online at communityactioninc.org.

The workshop is sponsored by Cross Country Mortgage.

For more information contact Richard Lynch at 978-373-1971 or Susan Collins at 978-317-8998.

NECC plans virtual athletic information sessions

Current and future Northern Essex Community College students interested in participating in sports for the fall 2020 or spring 2021 semesters, will have four opportunities to attend a virtual athletic information session this spring and summer.

Information sessions are June 17, July 29 and Aug. 19.

Students interested in joining the NECC athletic program are invited to attend any one of the events, which begin at 10 a.m. and will be about 30 minutes long. The college offers 12 sports.

Participants in the sessions will have the opportunity to hear from Dan Blair, NECC’s athletic director, and enrollment councilor Meredith Gagnon-Dube, NECC coaches and student-athletes. They will answer questions.

For more information, contact Blair at dblair@necc.mass.edu.

Advanced registration is required at neccknights.com/general/2019-20/releases/20200417levuwh.

Planning Commission to meet online

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission will hold a virtual online monthly meeting Thursday, May 21, at 11 a.m.

The agenda includes updates on the commission's activities. For details on joining this meeting, email Nancy Lavallee at nlavallee@mvpc.org.

Library offers virtual programs

The Haverhill Public Library is offering a variety of virtual programs. You can register for these programs at haverhillpl.org under Calendar of Events.

A virtual crafters group meets Fridays from 2 to 3 p.m.

Kanopy film discussion group meets Mondays from 7 to 8 p.m.

The Get Lit group meets May 21 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss "The Leavers" by Lisa Ko. Borrow a copy at mvlc.overdrive.com/media/2922978.

Virtual lapsit on Facebook Live is every Monday at 10 a.m. This is a story hour for children.

Try Something Tuesday, which features an exciting project on YouTube, every Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Hands on Nature meets every Tuesday from 3 to 4 p.m. on Zoom.

HPL Radio is broadcast live every Wednesday and Friday at 3 p.m. Listen along to an award-winning chapter book and join the discussion in a live chat. Follow haverhillpl on Mixlr for more information.

Virtual preschool storytime features a fun-filled storytime for preschoolers on YouTube every Thursday at 10 a.m.

One Haverhill Fund launched

Haverhill community leaders have launched the One Haverhill Fund to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The One Haverhill Fund was suggested by state Rep. Andy Vargas and established by community leaders including Mayor James Fiorentini, state Rep. Christina Minicucci, the Greater Haverhill Chamber, Community Action Inc., the Emmaus organization, Haverhill food pantries, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley.

The fund focuses on providing basic needs for families and paying for things such as rent, food, utilities, internet connections, child care, medications, and other basic necessities. Priority will be given to residents who are most economically vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis. All donations will be collected by United Way and distributed by established Haverhill nonprofit organizations with a track record of administering assistance funds.

To kick off the effort, United Way provided $50,000 to Emmaus and Community Action Inc. In addition to launching the One Haverhill Fund, United Way’s COVID relief efforts have supported UTEC and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill.

All gifts are tax-deductible and all of the proceeds will go to people seeking assistance.

To donate, visit unitedwaymassbay.org/covid-19/local-funds/haverhill or send a check to United Way of Massachusetts Bay, P.O. Box 51381, Boston, MA 02205-1381. Please make checks out to “United Way of Massachusetts Bay” and include “The One Haverhill Fund” in the memo area.

Whittier Vo-Tech to hold virtual graduation

Officials at Whittier Regional High School have cancelled this year’s prom and in-person graduation ceremony and instead are inviting seniors to participate in virtual events.

This year’s graduates may still have opportunities to come together as a class as the school has tentatively planned to hold an in-person social for students, faculty and staff in the fall, as well as a traditional graduation ceremony in May 2021.

The school will share a graduation ceremony video with students and their families Thursday, May 28, at 6 p.m.

As part of their graduation, seniors will receive a “graduation box” to include their cap and gown, yearbook and other important graduation documents. Students will pick up the boxes up during designated times at the school to promote social distancing.

More information and updates will be provided to students and school staff in the coming weeks.

Meal sites open for rest of school year

Haverhill public schools will continue offering children in the city breakfast and lunch “to go” until the end of the school year.

Meals are given out at the Hunking, Consentino, Nettle and Whittier Middle schools, as well as the Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA.

All sites are open to serve bagged meals to any Haverhill child up to age 18 (they do not have to be enrolled as Haverhill public school students). The sites operate daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each student is entitled to one breakfast pack and one lunch pack per day. One family member is allowed to pick up meals for multiple children — not all family members must go to the pick-up site. Families can also pick up additional meals for the weekends on Fridays.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding food service, please ask your site workers or send email to zjordan@haverhill-ps.org or Anna.Perracchio@haverhill-ps.org.

YMCA delivering school meals

The Haverhill YMCA is delivering bagged school breakfasts and lunches to the homes of families that don’t have reliable transportation and may not be able to travel to one of six distribution sites.

Tracy Fuller, executive director for the YMCA in Haverhill and Plaistow, said her staff has been delivering about 150 bagged breakfasts and lunches per day, five days a week, including extra food on Fridays to last the weekend.

“People are really appreciative of the effort, and we’re also working with Community Action, which has a few families in need of this support as well,” Fuller said. “One parent called us to say she was thankful for the meals being delivered as she doesn’t have a car and that times are tough for her family.”

Elderly and disabled need food donations

City officials and the mayor’s office are concerned about the ability of Haverhill’s vulnerable senior citizens and disabled residents to receive food and regular meals during the coronavirus crisis.

The city is asking for donations in the amounts of $25, $50, $75 and $100. The money will be used to buy food at local grocery stores for seniorc citizens and/or disabled residents experiencing financial hardship or unable to get to the grocery store on their own.

To donate, visit online at tinyurl.com/ycqmywo8. For more information, contact Vincent Ouellette at 978-374-2388, ext 3928.

Youth arts fundraiser seeks support

Organizers of the annual Steve Lyons Rock Out! Cookout say despite the challenges the community faces, including problems with the economy, they are still committed to the annual mission of supporting local youth arts by providing resources to people who need it.

Organizers are planning to hold this year’s Rock Out! Cookout and are reaching out to the community for support.

To contribute or participate this year, send email to stevelyonsfund@gmail.com or contact Angela Orben at 978-360-6283.

Visit online at stevelyonsfund.org or on Facebook.

Kindergarten registration is by phone

HAVERHILL — Registration for Haverhill public schools free all-day kindergarten for September 2020 is now open and families are encouraged to register early.

Children age 5 on or before Aug. 31 are eligible for enrollment. Appointments can be requested online at haverhill-ps.org/registration.

All business is being conducted by phone while the Parent Resource Center office at the Burnham School is closed.

Child care for front-line workers

The Haverhill YMCA is offering free emergency child care for front-line crisis workers weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Two classrooms each for both early learning and school-age children are available. Classes are limited to 20 children.

Early learning classes are held in the Whittier Early Learning Center, 87 Winter St. School-age classes are held at the YMCA, 81 Winter St.

Chris Lovasco, president and CEO of the YMCA of the North Shore, said the Y is always ready in difficult times to change direction in response to community needs and find ways to use its resources to offer solutions.

“Our team has been focused on pivoting our Y’s work to focus on delivering and supporting vital services related to the COVID-19 emergency,” he said. “We were chosen by the state to provide four emergency childcare centers in three communities serving over 160 children of those essential workers serving on the front line. Each center can accommodate 40 children, maintaining YMCA safety ratios.”

This program is free. Meals and the usual Y child care essentials are available. To enroll your child, send email to YMCA Executive Director Tracy Fuller at fullert@northshoreymca.org.

Archdiocese offers online giving to support parishes

The Archdiocese of Boston has created an online payment mechanism that donors can use to make a gift directly to the parish of their choice.

This 90-day program offers support now by providing a way to make a daily commitment in addition to regular weekly donations. To donate, visit online at bostoncatholic.org and click on the “donate” button near the top of the page.

You can donate by making weekly payments, monthly payments or a one-time donation. This program is especially helpful for parishes that do not currently have the ability to accept online donations.

Parishioners who give online using the 90 Days Now – for Your Parish site should know that the funds they give will go directly into their parish’s savings account and will be promptly available for their parish’s needs.

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