Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org

Mass minimum wage goes up to $9 an hour January 1, 2015. Then increases to $10, $11 … KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

Nice but NOT a living wage for Massachusetts workers … – R.T.


In accordance with An Act Restoring the Minimum Wage and Providing Unemployment Insurance Reforms Chapter 144 of the Acts of 2014

Effective January 1, 2015

MINIMUM WAGE in Massachusetts will be $9.00 PER HOUR

The minimum wage law applies to all employees except those being rehabilitated or trained in charitable, educational, or religious institutions; members of religious orders; agricultural, floricultural, and …

… horticultural workers; those in professional service; and outside salespersons not reporting to or visiting their office daily.

See M.G.L. chapter 151, §§1 and 2. For further information regarding the Massachusetts state minimum wage

If you have questions, please contact the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards at (617) 626-6952 …

… or visit www.mass.gov/dols.

In no case shall the Massachusetts minimum wage rate be less than $0.50 higher than the effective federal minimum rate.


Wait staff, service employees and service bartenders may be paid the service rate if they regularly receive tips of more than $20 a month, and if their average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, are equal to or exceed the basic minimum wage. See M.G.L. chapter 151, §7.


Work on a farm and the growing and harvesting of agricultural, floricultural and horticultural commodities requires payment of no less than the above-listed rate per hour, except when such wage is paid to a child seventeen years of age or under, or to a parent, spouse, child or other member of the employer’s immediate family. See M.G.L. chapter 151, §2A.

Effective January 1, 2016:

• Minimum Wage shall be $10.00 per hour

• Service Rate shall be $3.35 per hour (provided service employee receives tips of more than $20 per month and if his/her average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, equals $10.00 per hour).

Effective January 1, 2017:

• Minimum Wage shall be $11.00 per hour

• Service Rate shall be $3.75 per hour (provided service employee receives tips of more than $20 per month and if his/her average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, equals $11.00 per hour).

By Ron O’Clair … The South Worcester Neighborhood Center holiday extravaganza!


The handcrafted-with-love hats, scarves and mittens for distribution. 


Yari, 22, and her 1-year-old son, Jeyziel, preparing to leave with their gifts. 


SWNC Executive Director Ronald Charette and one of his volunteers, with just some of the many Christmas  gifts visible in the background.


Families selecting gifts with help from the volunteers.


Jessica from Shalom Multi-Cultural on Beacon Street. She’s one of the volunteers wrapping a gift!

Story and photos by Ron O’ Clair

The South Worcester Neighborhood Center located at 47 Camp Street put on its Christmas Gift Giveaway on Tuesday, the 23rd of December, 2014.

As I pulled up on Camp Street, the first thing I noticed was that it was not as I anticipated, after having covered the Friendly House Gift Giveaway this past Sunday. There were not mobs of people, and I did not have to park far away. I thought I had the wrong date and time for the event.

As it turned out, Mr. Ronald Charette, the executive director of the neighborhood center, had prevented that from happening by staggering the times that needy families were to come to get their gifts. Only four families were allowed inside at any one time, and when I got there, there were no lines waiting to get in.

Inside, the volunteers all wore Santa Hats, and helped the families choose what gifts to take.

There were lots and lots of brand new quality gifts for boys and girls of all ages that were generously donated to the neighborhood center by many donors, among them: Toys for Tots, Hadwen Park Church, Saint Matthew’s Church, Family to Family, Welch’s Corporation, DCU Credit Union, Sacred Heart Church, Alden Research Library, and many private citizens from the South Worcester Neighborhood area who gave generously so that others might have a wonderful Christmas.

In fact, there was an entire table loaded up with scarves, hats and gloves that were knitted throughout the year by the residents of 39 Coes Pond, at Coes Pond Village Apartments by a group Ron called “The Knitting Angels.” I would like to thank these people for taking the time to hand knit these items for needy girls and boys to be warm with this winter.

Gifts like these come directly from the heart, and I can well remember getting these items as a boy from my own sister Dorothy who did not have much money for gifts, but always made sure that we kept our heads, necks and hands warm during the freezing cold by knitting us these items just like the wonderful “Knitting Angels” of Coes Pond Village did here.


There were 1,009 children registered for the SWNC holiday gift giveaway at the time I spoke with Ron Charette when I took the photographs for InCity Times. These children were predominantly from the Main South, and Green Island neighborhoods.

Hopefully, there were not many who double dipped at the Christmas  trough by attending both the Friendly House event, as well as this one. There are, of course, always the greedy amongst the needy and those who deprive some  little girl or boy from getting a gift. I sincerely hope there were not many of these folks so that the maximum number of needy children could benefit from the generosity of the many benefactors who make this holiday event possible.

Merry Christmas 2014 to all, and to all a good night!

Ron O’Clair Patriot of the Press.

April and the Christmas mouse

The only mouse my April will ever catch!  This mouse sings a Christmas tune in a squeaky cutesy voice when you press his paw. He belonged to my late mom. He was her fave Christmas decoration.  When little kids would visit her during the holidays, she’d give them an apple, an orange, a little doll or plastic toy, a one dollar bill from her little brown leather change purse … and then she’d place soldier mouse on her lap and tell the little kid to squeeze his paw. Soldier mouse would sing. The little kid’s face would light up. My mom’s face would light up. Since Ma died, I never press his paw. … I don’t even remember the Christmas song he used to sing.   –  R. Tirella CAM01155

Friendly House Christmas party photos …

… by Ron O’Clair

I arrived shortly after two o’clock, [Sunday], and the place was at overflow capacity, with people being asked to remain outside due to the gym being at capacity.

There was a police lieutenant posted outside directing traffic and manning the crosswalk.

I took photographs showing the overflow crowd.

As I was leaving there were still more parents and children heading to the party.

The place was mobbed. [Families had to be turned away, with a promise of a mini-party, including Christmas presents for the kids, on Monday.]

I asked [Executive Director] Gordon [Hargrove] if he had enough presents for all the children. He seemed to think he did.



Friendly House Executive Director Gordon Hargrove introduces the Friendly House Chorus to the audience. There were lots of music/dance groups to entertain party goers! The celebration, a decades-old tradition, was held in the gymnasium of the Friendly House (pictured below) on Wall Street.


Below: Worcester police officer directs traffic in the crosswalk to the Friendly House. 



Christmas party! Come one, come all!


The South Worcester Neighborhood Center Christmas party!!!

Tuesday, December 23

47 Camp St. (off Cambridge Street)

1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

There will be:

Food and refreshments!

Groceries for your family to take home!

Dress for Success career clothing give-away for the ladies!

Loreal Cosmetics cosmetics for success give-away for the ladies!

A bottle of non-alcoholic bubbly for each family!

Toys for the kiddies!





Christmas news from St. Anthony Shrine

Boston – Six Boston-area nonprofits have received a combined gift of over $1.1 million dollars in brand new clothing through a partnership with Dignity U Wear a national non-profit.

St. Anthony Shrine; Ministry Center, St. Francis House, Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, Women’s Lunch Place, Bakhita House and Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester each received brand new clothing in 2014 to support their missions to serve those in need throughout the Boston area.

Dignity U Wear is a national nonprofit headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. It is the mission of Dignity U Wear to procure brand new clothing from over 200 apparel industry partners to include; manufacturers, retailers and distributors, and deliver it at the right time to the people for whom it will make the most difference.

“Nearly 80,000 units of clothing have been sent to the Boston area,” said Barbara Truncellito, executive Director for Dignity U Wear,” items including underwear, socks, school uniforms, sweaters, khaki pants, polo shirts, jeans, dresses and accessories.  “So many people in our country are in need of such basic items as socks and underwear and we are here to help.” added Truncellito.

Dignity U Wear focuses on three initiatives to reach those in need: school clothing for children, veterans in transition and women and girls in crisis.

“We are truly grateful for their support”, commented Ed Kelley, CEO, Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, “Dignity U Wear aligns with our mission to ensure that all children can live as we would want our own children to live. Their approach and commitment to the most at-risk is exactly what our community needs – we are stronger together.”

RFK Children’s Action Corps serves children throughout Massachusetts. Through this partnership we are able to provide clothing to children in over a dozen communities including Western Mass and the Cape.

In collaboration with St. Anthony Shrine, St. Francis House is the largest distributor of clothing to the poor and homeless in the Greater Boston area, “we are grateful for the relationship with Dignity U Wear, together we are making a positive impact on men and women in need,” said Karen LaFrazia, Executive Director of St. Francis House.

“These new clothes will give many people the power to create change for themselves in order to find a brighter future,” said Fr. Tom Conway, OFM, Executive Director at St. Anthony Shrine and board member at St. Francis House.


Founded in 2000 by philanthropist and Holocaust survivor Henri Landwirth, Dignity U Wear is a nonprofit that receives in-kind and financial donations from corporate sponsors to provide brand new clothes to over 200 social service agencies across the country at no cost to the recipient.  “I know what it means to be stripped of personal dignity,” Landwirth commented, “ I know what it is like not have clothes of one’s own and to give up all hope.”  Through Dignity U Wear and partnerships with these Boston agencies, Dignity U Wear is helping those in need throughout the Boston community.

The mission of Dignity U Wear is to positively impact the lives of children and their families in need throughout the United States by providing them with brand new clothing.  Dignity U Wear partners with the apparel industry to provide the supply of clothing and then works through a network of social service agencies to deliver the clothing based on specified needs. Founded by philanthropist and Holocaust survivor, Henri Landwirth in 2000, the organization has provided more than 9.3 million pieces, valued at $180 million, to more than 830,000 people.

St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center, the “Church on Arch Street,” has been a center for Roman Catholic ministry in Boston, MA for over 65 years. It is directed by Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province and has over 30 outreach and spiritual ministries.

Holiday greetings from JOBS NOT JAIL

Dear Friends of EPOCA,

We are proud to have just celebrated our 10th Anniversary.  Thank you to the many people who came out for this great event and donated to our cause.

This past year, the Jobs NOT Jails Coalition grew to 136 participating organizations, we staged a big rally on Boston Common and wrapped 46,643 Jobs NOT Jails petition signatures around the State House.

In the new year, we will engage thousands of people in mass trainings and high-profile direct actions, to build upon the unstoppable wave of support we have garnered. 

Together, we will guide the evolution of our society from one characterized by suffering and mass incarceration to one of freedom and self-sufficiency, where employment and a living wage is available for everyone.

Our allies in California have succeeded with Proposition 47, where many felonies have been dropped to misdemeanors, which will release thousands of people from prison.  The resulting savings from reduced incarceration will be tracked and funneled into three important services: truancy prevention; victims’ services; and treatment for mental illness and addiction.

Right now, we are drafting radical new legislation to enact a series of criminal justice reforms and divert millions of dollars away from prisons into job training programs, social enterprise and co-op development.

Beyond changing laws, we seek a wholesale shift in consciousness: to end the dehumanization that underlies mass incarceration and economic exclusion.  This is what the Jobs NOT Jails Movement is about.

The work ahead will be joyful, but it will require sacrifice as well.  Last year, EPOCA members and staff spent over $20,000 on in-state travel.  This year we expect to log even more miles, as we reach out to inspire action and train leaders across the state, from the Berkshires to Barnstable.  Our staff and leaders will train with the experts at Movement Mastery and will pass these vital organizing skills along to you, our allies in this movement.

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you who have donated to EPOCA and made it possible to come all this way in just ten years.

If you haven’t yet, we hope you will consider making a tax-deductible donation to EPOCA this year.  Your gift will make all the difference, to keep us on the road and build further momentum across the state.

In solidarity,

Delia Vega & Steve O’Neill, Co-directors

Checks can be sent to:

4 King Street
Worcester, MA 01610

Join us at our next Jobs NOT Jails Community Meeting on January 31, 2014.  Details to be announced….

EPOCA’s office will be closed for the holidays!

We will be closed from Monday, December 22nd until Monday, January 5th.

Happy New Year!

Looking for last-minute holiday gifts such as … vintage goodies, clothing and household items?

CAM00922 (1)A few months ago my neighbor gave me this blouse and other goodies. What I didn’t use I donated to non-profits, with one very nice pair of shoes (new) going to Abby’s. … All your donations are tax-deductible.   – R. Tirella

… then shop where our Parlee Jones works – ABBY’S HOUSE!

52 High St., Worcester

Parlee runs their homeless shelter; she places women, often fleeing domestic violence, in safe spaces.

By shopping at Abby’s House THRIFT SHOP (52 High St., across the street from St. Paul’s Cathedral) you support the shelter and the homeless women for whom it spells HOME.

Lots of greats buys! Lots of items Diamonds in the Rough! Don’t forget! The money you spend at the shop goes towards supporting Worcester’s iconic women’s shelter.


Learn more (from their website):

Abby’s House Thrift Shop

The Abby’s House Thrift Shop continues to be our largest single source of revenue.

All of the profits from sales at the Thrift Shop fund our emergency shelter.

The Thrift Shop is full of quality clothing, accessories, home goods, and bargain-priced cosmetics.

We encourage you to visit the store today, not only to donate clothing and homegoods, but to add some great pieces to your wardrobe!


Monday through Thursday: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Fridays: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Saturdays: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

The Thrift Shop is closed on holidays. When Worcester Public Schools declares a snow day, the Thrift Shop will be closed.

In case of bad weather, please call ahead to make sure we’re open: (508) 756-5486 extension 12.

Making Donations:

Donations are accepted during regular shop hours. We are happy to accept gently used, seasonal women’s clothing in good condition and household items of all kinds including kitchenware, lamps and decorative items. New, unopened health and beauty products are also welcome.

At times we are in need of furniture in good condition that may be used to set up an apartment, such as small kitchen sets or desk sets. If you would like to make a furniture donation, please call ahead.

We do NOT accept books, computers, TVs, furniture, records, record players, hangers, used pillows, men’s clothing or used children’s clothing and toys.

Please note that due to the new laws regarding child safety we can only accept children’s clothing or toys if they are NEW, in package or tagged.

CLICK HERE to visit the Abby’s House website to learn more!