LabCentral's Project BenevolentAugust 18, 2020 | By Caitlyn Clarke
When outbreaks of COVID-19 began to surge across the United States, and as the impact of the virus became more apparent, LabCentral knew that reaching out to help our community and making a difference in this time would be vital. Over the past few weeks, our Residents, Alumni, sponsors and team members have worked together to collect essential food and hygiene products for distribution to the Cambridge and Somerville Programs for Addiction Recovery (CASPAR), a local Cambridge non-profit that assists those experiencing homelessness and others in need in an effort we’ve named “Project Benevolent.”
(Pictured above: Volunteers help to load cars with supplies for delivery to CASPAR from LabCentral at 700 Main Street)
CASPAR normally seeks to help those with substance abuse disorders and presently, in the face of COVID-19 hopes to educate the community in hygiene best practices to mitigate the spread of the disease.
Shazia Mir, Resident & Alumni Relations Lead, believes that “together we can make a big difference. So, it’s really exciting to see the engagement, kindness, and generosity that makes this community heartening because a little can go a long way.” Mir, a member of LabCentral’s Community Development team, has worked the past few months making Project Benevolent possible. She believes that the “community is so diverse and beautiful and we need to help our neighbors.” We are grateful for each and every Resident company, Alumni company, sponsor and team member that gave to Project Benevolent. With the help of our community, we were able to raise $15,297 to support the work of CASPAR.
(Pictured right: Shazia Mir pictured with Harry Gerard; Senior Associate, Operations)
LabCentral has a strong relationship with CASPAR and in years past has helped with food drives, dinner service programs and even planting a garden at a homeless shelter. While the pandemic has meant adjustment to everyday life, it also brought new challenges for CASPAR and the homeless community it serves, including the closing of most public water sources and the need to halt all used clothing donation drives.
According to Julia W. Londergan, Esq, the Director of Development at CASPAR, “CASPAR is grateful for LabCentral’s continuing and growing support of our homeless neighbors. As CASPAR saw the growing impact during the pandemic, LabCentral, its Resident and Alumni companies, and sponsors stepped in to donate personal hygiene products, Clorox wipes, new clothing for the community we serve as well as funds for CASPAR’s emergency needs. We simply could not care of our most vulnerable neighbors without partners like LabCentral.”
With the landscape of Kendall and Central Square rapidly changing to accommodate the explosive growth of the biotech industry, now more than ever, it’s important to remain cognizant of the impact our organizations can have on the communities outside of our own buildings. While our Resident companies are working inside our walls for solutions to the pandemic, externally, the members of the surrounding community have differing health outcomes due to racial and income inequality. Working with organizations like CASPAR is a step in the right direction to making sure all members of our community have access to the resources they need to stay healthy during this crisis.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay home!