Shirts support coronavirus relief, Sippican Week

Apr 28, 2020

“This can’t happen again!” Raymond Nicoletti, chief operating officer at Soft As A Grape, can’t remember which employee first made the remark. But he knows it was early March, and talk
had turned to drastic measures to protect people from a deadly pandemic.

Out of that despairing exclamation, an idea was born at the Wareham-based screenprinter and retailer of casual clothing. It morphed into a T-shirt and then into a vehicle to raise money for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund — and for Sippican Week and its sister newspapers.

The “It can’t happen again” T-shirts are now on sale at for $15 plus shipping and handling.

Nicoletti lists how that $15 will help many people:
$5 to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a consortium of philanthropies and businesses focused on aiding those in the state who are most impacted by the pandemic.
$4.50 to Sippican Week and sister papers Wareham Week and Dartmouth Week — whose sustaining flow of advertising revenue fell sharply after pandemic precautions closed the economy.
$3.30 to Soft As A Grape to produce the shirts at cost.
$2.20 to purchase the unprinted shirts.

“Our goal was to produce a shirt that will help an entire supply chain,” Nicoletti explained. The shirt itself was designed by Kimberly Joseph, Soft As A Grape’s art director, who massaged
“This can’t happen again!” into “It can’t happen again” over a heart-shaped world with the words, “Awareness. Unity. Resilience” underneath.

How did Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief and the newspapers get involved?

“We wanted to tie ourselves to something that was close to home, so this seemed like a no-brainer to us,” Nicoletti said. “Being a Wareham-based company, we wanted to make sure that
we were donating to Wareham Week. We’re helping Massachusetts, we’re helping Wareham Week.”

When Nicoletti called Anne Eisenmenger, publisher of Sippican Week, Wareham Week and Dartmouth Week with his idea, she was quick to respond with an enthusiastic “yes!”

“We are all in this together,” Eisenmenger said, “And this partnership puts a happy exclamation point on that!”