The Best of Boston Readers’ Poll: Heroes Edition

Dimple Rana

Community Engagement Director, City of Revere 

Filling in the gaps: Was there any side effect of the pandemic Dimple Rana didn’t work to remedy this year? As leader of Revere’s COVID-19 Community Response Network, the powerhouse city employee and her team could be found handing out PPE kits and COVID safety flyers, spreading the word about vaccines, and helping people apply for rental assistance. What’s more, the program Rana launched has made groundbreaking strides in communicating with Revere’s non-English speakers. “We really needed to reach populations we have not traditionally reached before,” says Rana, whose staffers translated city materials for the first time in Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic and deployed multilingual “COVID ambassadors” to deliver public safety messages door-to-door.

A personal mission: Making services more inclusive during COVID was not only strategic; it was also a long time coming. Rana has been troubled for years by racial tensions in her hometown, and a lack of diversity in local government. “Growing up here had its challenges. I need to be part of the change that needs to happen in Revere,” she says.

Strength in numbers: Thanks to Rana’s leadership, the city’s Community Response Network attracted more than 600 volunteers. By summer 2021, the group had distributed more than 122,000 meals or packages of food. Its call center also had 22,000 conversations with residents about health resources, vaccine appointments, and wellness checks.

Love from City Hall: “Without Dimple’s heroic efforts, so many of the needs of our residents could have slipped through the cracks,” Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo says. “The impact she has made on our city will be everlasting, and we are grateful for her efforts.” —Spencer Buell