Ashland creates public-private partnership to feed needy residents in wake of the coronavirus

Town officials have created a program designed to support residents and restaurants struggling because of coronavirus shutdowns.

The Restaurant and Resident Relief Program provides free fresh meals to residents in need. It is a public-private partnership between local restaurants, the town’s Human Services Department and is financed with $10,000 from the Ashland Emergency Fund.

Those interested in receiving meals are instructed to call the COVID-19 hotline at 508-532-7900 between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon on Friday and Monday, according to Assistant Town Manager Jennifer Ball. Meals will be delivered on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between noon and 2 p.m., according to the town website.

Each morning, volunteers will stop by participating businesses - including Ashland Pizza Palace, Dulce D Leche, Doragon Ramen, Nick’s Mexico City and 2 Mauro’s Cafe - to purchase food the businesses have prepared for the program.

Town Manager Michael Herbert said he sees the program as a stimulus package of sorts. Businesses will be able to take advantage of the extra income while dine-in services remain banned.

It also helps out residents who may go hungry otherwise, making note that many children rely on school lunches for food.

Herbert said the financial impact of the virus can not be understated.

“We’ve had a number of restaurants come in the last year who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in revitalizing dilapidated parcels and now could be potentially on the verge of collapse,” Herbert said.

The Ashland Emergency Fund is a charitable donation fund that is not directly connected to town government. It was founded in 1987 and is controlled by an elected committee and is funded through donations.


Source: Metrowestdailynews