The Health & Wellness Committee meets on the first Wednesday of each month, 8a-9a. We are committed to bringing news, information, and resources related to Health & Wellness to our Cape Ann Communities.
In our meeting of January 6, Robin Stone, MS, RDN, LDN, Nutrition Services Manager of The Open Door food pantry, provided an overview of the services that were provided during the holidays across the Cape Ann Communities. Among so many projects and events, gift baskets created and provided, and in partnership with The American Legion, meals were prepared and delivered to those in need. It was heartwarming to learn that, in the true meaning of the season, committee member Lisa Bonneville, of Bonneville Design (celebrating 40-years in business!), volunteered and assisted in the delivery of holiday meals. Lisa described the meal delivery process as extremely well organized and deeply appreciated by the recipients. Please note that The Open Door continues to accept food and monetary donations.
David Bergeron, President of Beauport Hearing Care in Magnolia, made a special request, one with which we all heartily agreed. That is that we take every opportunity, especially here in our monthly committee update, to recognize, honor and celebrate the sacrifice that every front-line worker has made, risking their lives during the pandemic, to continue to see to the health and welfare of us all. These include Hospital workers, first responders, pharmacists and pharmacy employees, skilled nursing facility workers, home care service providers, grocery store employees, and so many others.
Helene Feeley, Membership Services Director of the YMCA of The North Shore, was fantastic to point out that we must also recognize the commitment and sacrifice made by teaching professionals who have continued to assert and thoughtfully dedicate themselves for the benefit of pre-school and school-aged students. Additionally, physical therapy and wellness professionals right there at the “Y” and others like Doug Kahn, Site Manager at the Spaulding Outpatient Center, and his colleagues.
Always of critical importance, but now more than ever, Mental Health requires special focus. We are fortunate to have a few City of Gloucester Department of Health professionals represented on the committee. They include Karin Carroll – Public Health Director, Amy Epstein – Regional Prevention Director, and Jennifer Donnelley – Grant Coordinator, Mass in Motion. We encourage you to read the information provided here: Gloucester Health Department-Mental Health Resource
An important excerpt:
“The Gloucester Health Department has contracted with Children’s Friend and Family Services [represented on the H & W Committee by Crystal Contrino, LICSW], a division of the Justice Resource Institute, to offer free access to a dedicated representative for community members to contact for help when seeking mental health care. Assistance is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at 781-540-3329”
It is important to note that committee members including Christine Routhier of Sound Living Therapy, Emily DeBenedictis, Art Therapy, and Silvia Martin, Health & Wellness Clinician at Blackburn Primary Care, bring much needed support to our community’s emotional and mental health care.
Thanks to the heroic and selfless efforts of these individuals, institutions, groups, and organizations we have been able to continue on with our lives with as much normalcy as could be possible considering the ever-present danger and restrictions that remain in place due to the pandemic.
Also, during our first meeting of the New Year, it was our pleasure to welcome Kurt Kalker, RN, Owner of Cape Ann Botanicals. Kurt enlightened us with information about the unique manner by which he brings a carefully considered clinical methodology to dispensing of CBD and other Cannabis products for the special needs of his clients, including children with epilepsy and anyone suffering with arthritis. Kurt, himself, recently underwent shoulder surgery and he speaks from first-hand experience about the wonders of CBD treatment for pain relief. Kurt’s devotion to the community is also evident by his close association with Ipswich Aware, a coalition of community leaders that focus attention on proper use of substances and the scourge of substance abuse.
Chamber CEO, Ken Riehl attended our meeting, too. He mentioned that Allen’s Pharmacy in Manchester is offering COVID-19 testing (by appointment). Along with Ken, everyone at the Cape Ann Chamber and certainly every member of the Health & Wellness Committee, hope that you will continue to stay vigilant, stay healthy, and stay safe.
Our next meeting (via Zoom) will take place on Wednesday, February 3rd at 8AM. If you would like to join the meeting or if you are in search of a Health & Wellness resource, please reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org or to our CACC liaison, Olivia Perez-O’Dess at email@example.com, and we will do all we can to assist you.
Chair, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce – Health & Wellness Committee