Soft as a Grape shirts support coronavirus relief, Wareham 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 screen printer 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 Wareham 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 Wareham Week and sister papers Sippican 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 blank 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 Wareham Week 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 Wareham Week Publisher Anne Eisenmenger 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!”