Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Toy Run Brings Joy to Children in Shelter

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Oct 06, 2017 @ 03:07 PM

HOG Run 16-29.jpg

A procession of nearly 200 motorcycles driving from Buzzards Bay over the Bourne Bridge to HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth is a sight to behold. And on the first Sunday in November, it happens like clockwork every year. Their mission is simple – spread a little holiday joy to children in HAC’s family shelters.

It’s all part of the Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run which has been taking place for the past 29 years. In 1999, it was named in honor of organizer Christina Wetherbee who died of cancer the following spring.

Since that time, her husband Joe Wetherbee and his second wife Clarissa have taken over the reins, organizing the toy run with the support of the Cape Cod Harley Owners Group (HOG) of Pocasset. “The best part of the day is seeing the bikes show up and the people supporting this,” Joe said. “And then, of course, the look on the kids’ faces because we could have 200 to 250 bikes. To see that many bikes is impressive.”

One of the longest-standing toy runs in the state, the event generates interest from motorcyclists throughout Cape Cod and even off-Cape with some coming from as far away as Boston and Rhode Island. Leading the group every year is Joe Wetherbee who will do so once again next month on his Can-Am Spyder.

Last year, participants delivered over $3,000 worth of toys that went to children in all four of HAC’s family shelters – Carriage House, The Village at Cataumet, Angel House, and Scattered Sites – as well as to children of families in need that HAC serves.

Families are given the gifts for the children to open during the holiday season.

Yvonne Rivers, the facility director at Carriage House, said the gifts come at a time of year when families could use it the most. “The holidays can be tough for our clients, especially because they are in a shelter,” she said.

The toy run serves as a meaningful show of support and kindness delivered by complete strangers on motorcycles. “It’s great to see the joy and smiles on children’s faces,” Rivers said. “The kids love it.”

18th Annual Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run
When: Sunday, November 5
Where: Eagles Hall at 39 Cohasset Avenue, Buzzards Bay
Registration: 8:30-10:30 AM

The run begins at 11 AM, starting at Eagles Hall and ending at Carriage House. Participants are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy (no stuffed animals or violent toys) or a minimum $10 donation. Those unable to participate in the ride can drop off donations to Cape Cod Harley-Davidson at either 750 MacArthur Boulevard in Pocasset or at 615 Main Street in Hyannis.

As they have in recent years, Seafood Sam’s in Falmouth and Sandwich will provide chili, clam chowder, and hot dogs for participants.

 

Tags: Family Shelter, Carriage House, Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Christmas, charitable giving, holiday giving, Clarissa Wetherbee, Joe Wetherbee, Cape Cod Harley Owners Group (HOG)

New Role a Perfect Fit for Carriage House Director

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 @ 10:29 AM

Yvonne Rivers-1.jpg

Yvonne Rivers likes helping others.

That may explain why she is more than suited to her newest position at HAC as the facility director of Carriage House in North Falmouth. “I’ve always been a caretaker, even with my mom, she was young when she passed away at 49,” Rivers said. “I have taken care of people my whole life and I like taking care of people.”

At Carriage House, a homeless shelter for women and their children, Rivers is doing just that. The shelter, which primarily caters to first-time mothers, has the capacity to house 10 women at any given time.

A mother of three – Shiniqua, 33; Robin, 28; and April, 21 – Rivers understands what many of those at Carriage House are going through. Though she was never homeless, Rivers did rely on government assistance as she raised her first daughter. “I was a young mom, about 19 when I had my first,” Rivers said. “I know the struggle of being a young mother and juggling multiple jobs… I feel like this is a perfect opportunity to give back and to give something to these young girls and say, ‘You can do it. Don’t think you can’t.’”

It is that attitude that Rivers brought to HAC when she was initially hired by the agency roughly eight years ago. At the time, Rivers had spent over 11 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Royal Megansett Nursing Home in North Falmouth. “I was looking to go in a new direction,” she said.

So she began volunteering at HAC’s NOAH Shelter, where her father Joseph N’kunta had worked since 2001. There she heard of an opening at The Village at Cataumet where she first worked as substitute staff, then the overnight shift and, finally, as a case manager prior to her new position at Carriage House, which she started last May.

As the director, she is not only connecting mothers to housing services, but employment opportunities, financial literacy workshops, counseling and parenting classes so they can become self-sufficient when they eventually leave shelter. Rivers knows that achieving that goal is possible, something she learned as a young parent more than three decades ago. “I do feel like I have a lot to offer these young ladies,” she said. “I feel like I can give them some hope.”

Give Hope to a HAC Client

Tags: Family Shelter, homelessness, Carriage House, Joseph N'kunta, Yvonne Rivers

Toy Run Epitomizes Meaning of the Season

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Dec 19, 2016 @ 11:24 AM
HOG Run 16-5.jpgMotorcycles make their way onto Old Main Road in North Falmouth, delivering toys to our Carriage House shelter. Over 150 motorcyclists participated in last month's toy run, ensuring our children in shelter will have gifts to open during the holidays. 

What compels people to give to complete strangers during the holidays? “So this guy doesn’t have to work so hard,” Cotuit’s David Andrade joked as Santa Claus walked by him on the first Sunday of November at HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

It may have been a comment made in jest, but Andrade and over 150 motorcyclists with nothing to gain other than the satisfaction of helping others, did just that as part of the 17th Annual Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run. They came from all over Cape Cod as well as the South Shore, Boston and even Rhode Island to deliver over $3,000 worth of toys that will go to children living in HAC’s shelters as well as $2,600 in monetary donations to support HAC’s housing work on Cape Cod and the islands.

The toy run has actually been taking place for the past 27 years. In 1999, it was named in honor of longtime organizer Christina Wetherbee, who died of cancer the following spring. Since then, her husband, Joe Wetherbee, and his second wife, Clarissa, have organized the run with the help of the Cape Cod Harley Owners Group (HOG).

“It’s all for the children,” Joe said, a statement echoed by several of the ride’s participants. “It is not their fault they are in shelter and a lot of times it is not the parents fault.”

HAC CEO Rick Presbrey expressed his appreciation for those who participated in the toy run as it will help HAC’s three family shelters and bring a little joy to the nearly 50 families staying there over the holidays. “It’s really the beginning of the holiday season for us,” he said. “It gets the spirit going early, and that’s a good thing.”

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To view more pictures from last month's toy run, visit our Facebook page here. And to give to our families in shelter, click here

Tags: Family Shelter, Philanthropy, Carriage House, Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, charitable giving, holiday giving

Music as a Form of Therapy

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 @ 10:40 AM
Angel_House_Music_3.jpgRachel Youngling (far left) leads a music class at Angel House in June. 

She banged on a drum, shook egg shakers and waved see-through scarves, all while singing songs about little Johnny Brown and Jack in the Box to the delight of six children, ranging from infants to toddlers at HAC’s Angel House, in early June.

Once a month, Rachel Youngling brings this colorful, playful scene to both the Hyannis shelter and Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth. She has been doing so since February 2015 as a volunteer, wanting to expose mothers and their children at the two shelters to the beauty and power of music. This past December, she received two grants – one from the Mid-Cape Cultural Council and the other from the Falmouth Cultural Council – that are funding her work this year.

Even if she did not receive the funding, Youngling admitted, “I would be doing this anyway… That’s how important I feel it is.”

Youngling, who owns Musical Discoveries in West Yarmouth, has been offering early childhood music education on Cape Cod for the past nine years. She can often be found inspiring children at area preschools and libraries. She expanded her presence to HAC’s homeless shelters last year after hearing WCAI host Mindy Todd talking about Angel House on “The Point” and realizing that those being served at the shelter could benefit from an exposure to music.

Building Bonds Through Music
During her sessions, she focuses on getting mothers and their children to connect with one another through play and creative exploration. Underlying it all is one goal: to have fun. Youngling does that “by keeping it exciting and bringing in rhythm instruments and scarves to promote rhythmic development,” she said. “Every class, they play along with a basket full of different items such as triangles, drums and tambourines.”

Though she serves as the facilitator, Youngling encourages the mothers to get involved and lead by example for their child. “Every child’s number one teacher is their parent,” she explained.

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The results at both shelters have been promising. “We’ve seen the women make an amazing connection with their children,” Youngling said.

Angel House Facility Director Lin Rohr said the classes have presented “a vibrant dynamic” in which mothers and their children have been able to playfully express themselves through movement and music. And Youngling’s underlying goal is being met as Rohr noted, “it is just fun.”

For those who have experienced significant trauma in their lives, Youngling said, it is important to have the types of moments she provides, if even for a short while. “To be able to find that space where you can be happy, even if it is just 45 minutes, it makes such a difference,” Youngling said. “That’s why I love what I do: the power to help each individual find some happiness and joy in their immediate situation.”

Donate to Angel House

Tags: Carriage House, Angel House, art therapy, music therapy, Rachel Youngling

Preserving Carriage House's History

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Mar 01, 2016 @ 10:16 AM

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When it comes to history, there may be no HAC property more significant than Carriage House in North Falmouth. The building, which was once a 1960s nightclub called the Banjo Room, was originally built in 1904 as a barn by summer resident William C. Spencer.

Aside from serving as a carriage house, it has also operated as a garden store and a single-family residence for a family with six children. When first built, Carriage House contained staff quarters, a stall for horses, a hay loft, a trunk room and space for carriages to be parked and washed. The ramp that carriages used to enter the facility still exists.

Today, Carriage House serves as one of four homeless shelters owned by HAC. Because of its historical significance, the shelter is receiving a makeover courtesy of the Town of Falmouth’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds.

In November, Falmouth’s Town Meeting members unanimously approved an article to spend $85,000 that will fund the replacement of 48 windows at Carriage House. It’s a project that HAC had on its to-do list for several years.

Thanks to the CPA, a state statute that provides funding for projects in one of four categories – historic preservation, open space, affordable housing and recreation – the work is coming to fruition, helping to preserve the shelter’s history.

“It’s a beautiful structure and getting much deserved attention,” said Carriage House’s facility director Katie Geissler. “Carriage House is a very old building on a property with historical significance, dating back to the late 1700s.”

The history of the property can be traced to 1772 when Frederick T. Nye, a soldier who served in the Revolutionary Army, built the first home there. Nye passed the property on to his son, Samuel Jr., who passed it on to his youngest son, Frederick T. Nye, around 1870. Roughly eight years later, the home burned to the ground at which point Frederick rebuilt it.

Spencer purchased the property from the Nyes, erecting a carriage house behind the home 112 years ago. Historically, Carriage House is known as the William C. Spencer Horse Barn.

In the 1950s, two sisters from Brookline ran a restaurant named Carriage House out of the Nye homestead. That home was demolished in 1965, one year after John and Raymond Deely took ownership of the property, leaving only the barn.

The land changed hands again in June 1989 when HAC bought the property for $475,000 from Kenneth Battles, converting it into a shelter that currently serves mothers and their children. Initially, the Battles family was hesitant to sell to HAC because of its plan to use the home as a shelter. That changed after they met with HAC staff who explained their vision for the property. Over the years, the family has become supporters of HAC’s work, donating more than what the agency paid for the home.

Pat Caron, HAC’s compliance manager who worked on the Carriage House grant, was pleased to see the nonprofit receive the funds necessary to replace the windows. “This will make sure we are able to maintain the character of the building,” she said, adding there is a more practical benefit to those living there. “There are a lot of drafts with the current windows and as far as the kids, this will give them a much safer environment to live in.”

The project, which is expected to take two weeks, began last wee. Contractor Scott Johnson of Sandwich has been tapped by HAC to conduct the work.

 

 

Tags: Carriage House

The Power of Photos

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sat, Feb 14, 2015 @ 08:28 AM
baby photos resized 600 A sampling of the family portraits that Sandwich’s Beth Muhlebach shot and eventually gave to HAC’s shelter clients in December.

It is safe to say that for most clients, their time living in shelter is one they would like to forget. For it is here that they are at their lowest, looking for a way to rebuild their lives, move on and find a place to call their own.

But for one day in November, Sandwich’s Beth Muhlebach gave 14 families – five at Carriage House in North Falmouth and nine at The Village at Cataumet – a lasting keepsake to remember their time in shelter.

Muhlebach, who makes her living as a clinical research consultant, spends her spare time practicing photography. “I like capturing the interaction between people most,” she said. “And I like capturing the emotional moments in those interactions.”

Often those interactions involve her husband Stephan and their children Ella, 6, and Henry, 5.

Muhlebach expanded her list of subjects to include HAC clients after being introduced to the nonprofit through her friendship with Julie Wake, director of communications and development.

Last fall while the two were at Taste and See at Oyster Harbors Club, an event that raises money for HAC’s homeless programs, Muhlebach began thinking of a way to use her talents to give shelter clients a meaningful gift for the holidays. “I thought for a long time that people who are homeless, especially those with children, are not thinking about capturing this part of their lives,” she said. “They don’t want pictures to remember this time, but for these kids this is their childhood and it is as special as any others.”

So a month later, Muhlebach found herself spending nearly five hours capturing posed and more candid moments of families living in HAC’s shelters.

She arrived at The Village at Cataumet first where mothers were busy doing their hair, preparing for the shoot. “It was really neat to see that what they thought I was doing was as special as I thought it was,” she said. “They were appreciative and excited to have pictures taken of their kids and with them.”

The day was particularly significant for one of the mothers as it was the first time she had ever had a photo taken with her son. “It was sort of amazing to think there were no other pictures of them together,” Muhlebach said.

Over the course of the next three weeks, Muhlebach became even more familiar with the families as she pored through the photos she took, selecting her favorites and then going through the process of editing them.

In the second week of December, Muhlebach returned to Carriage House and The Village of Cataumet, giving each client a framed 8x10 photo, a framed 5x7 photo, several 4x6 prints as well as wallet-sized ones they could give to family members.

“The pictures came out beautiful,” said Marilia Freire, who had her photos taken with her one-year-old son Adrian at The Village at Cataumet. “I was so happy she did this because I wanted to do a Christmas picture with him. I really appreciate it.”

For Muhlebach, the reactions from clients were particularly rewarding. “A lot of them cried when they saw pictures of themselves with their children,” she said.

The best part was the bonds she witnessed - and captured on camera - between parents and their children in shelter. “When I told people I was going to the shelters, they said, ‘Oh that is going to be so sad,’” Muhlebach said. “It wasn’t sad at all. It was exactly the opposite of that. Because of HAC and these shelters, the kids have a place where they can live and be comfortable. It seems like a good environment for them to be in. They smile and are as happy as any other kids. You can see they are truly happy, genuinely sweet little kids and their parents love them and care for them a lot.”

 MG 5590 resized 600Beth Muhlebach with her children Ella and Henry.

Tags: beth muhlebach, Carriage House, Angel House, photos

11th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon a Success

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 @ 03:07 PM
DSC 1196 resized 600WCAI's Sean Corcoran sings "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" with several students from the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School.

During the first hour of the 11th Annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, State Representative Timothy Madden made his way onto the festively decorated set at the Cape Cod Community Media Center and spoke with hosts Mindy Todd and Sarah Colvin about the homeless situation on Cape Cod.

“This is our community and people have to step up now and contribute,” he said. “We can’t continue to live in a place like Cape Cod and have people who are homeless.”

The sad reality is that there are homeless people on Cape Cod and the telethon raises funds that go directly to HAC’s four shelters which serve that vulnerable population. In December more than $90,000 was raised during the five-hour live event to help support the programs and services at the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis, Angel House in Hyannis, Carriage House in North Falmouth and The Village at Cataumet in Bourne.

That money ranged from small $10 and $15 donations from individuals to large ones like a $5,000 check from Heroes in Transition that the Mashpee nonprofit’s co-founders, Cynthia and Kenneth Jones, and one of its directors, Roberta Cannon, presented to HAC on air.

Each donation represented one small step towards giving HAC clients a better life through programs intended to not only provide them with the basic essentials – food and housing – but the tools and confidence to become self-sufficient. Paul Melville, a consultant who runs a parenting group for fathers living at The Village at Cataumet, spoke about his experience working with clients and the benefits his program has brought to them. “They talk about parenting tips and their successes and we talk about their hopes and dreams,” Melville said.

And while he has never been homeless, he said, he has lived in subsidized housing, allowing him a chance to relate to what the parents he works with at the shelter are going through. “I remember thinking [when I was in subsidized housing] this isn’t where or how I wanted to raise my children,” Melville said. “I get them to open up and to realize this isn’t long term.”

If anything, the telethon was an indication of the help, and hope, that the community provides to HAC’s clients. This year’s event saw over 75 sponsors, ranging from Comcast to Clancy’s Tavern in Dennis Port to Hyannis Toyota to Cape Associates in Yarmouth Port to Falmouth Lumber, as well as roughly 170 volunteers that called friends and family throughout the evening asking them to donate to the telethon.

DSC 0920 resized 600Volunteers from Shepley Wood Products were in the holiday spirit.

A team of phone volunteers from Shepley Wood Products was adorned in Santa hats while a group from the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Cape Cod wore pink construction hats.

Among those providing entertainment during the evening were several HAC staffers, including Alison Reid who sang a live rendition of the Jackson Five’s “Give Love on Christmas Day” as well as Greg and Karin Bar and Derick Bussiere who performed a pre-taped acoustic version of James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend.”

WCAI’s Sean Corcoran, who served as a co-host during the evening, led several children from the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School in a sing-a-long of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” while David Kuehn, executive director of the Cotuit Center for the Arts, was joined by actress Hannah Carrita in performing a Christmas-themed medley.

DSC 0770 resized 600State Representative Timothy Madden (right) talks about homelessness on Cape Cod with telethon co-hosts Mindy Todd (left) and Sarah Colvin.

Underlying the performances was the theme of action, one that several speakers touched upon throughout the night. “We’ve got to do better and we will do better,” Madden said. 

“Homelessness is a national disgrace,” said David Augustinho, chair of HAC’s executive board. “Everybody needs to solve this problem together.”

It is a problem that not only HAC is working to solve, but those in the community. Dr. Nate Rudman, an emergency room physician at Cape Cod Hospital, noted that he sees homeless men and women spend anywhere from 140 to 170 hours in the ER because they have nowhere else to go.

“There are so many people in need,” Hyannis Fire Chief Harold Brunelle said. “I think so many people are just one paycheck away from being homeless and we already have a big homeless population on the Cape.”

Thank you so much to all our sponsors (click here for the full list) who helped make this telethon our best yet!

Even though the telethon is over, you can still help support HAC's shelter program. Click the button below to do so today!

Support HAC's Homeless Shelters

Tags: Homeless, Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Cape Cod, NOAH Shelter, Village at Cataumet, Carriage House, Angel House, shelter

Toy Run Brings Holiday Cheer to Families in Shelter

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 @ 05:06 PM

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The calendar said November 2, but the light snow falling on the ground and cold winter breeze made it seem more like December 25.

But it was not solely the weather that added to the festivity of the day. It was the spirit of giving, encompassed by more than 100 motorcyclists who showed up to the Carriage House Shelter in North Falmouth, to show their support of those who are less fortunate.

That charitableness was tied to the 15th Annual Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, an event in which bikers from on Cape and off gather at the Buzzards Bay Eagles Hall and make the trek to Falmouth to deliver toys to children staying at HAC’s three family shelters - Carriage House, The Village at Cataumet in Bourne, and Angel House in Hyannis.

For the past 25 years the Cape Cod Harley Owners Group (HOG) have been collecting toys and monetary donations every fall to go to the region’s homeless children during the holidays. In 1999, the run was named in honor of Christina Wetherbee, a longtime participant in the annual event.

Though Christina died of cancer in April 2000, her husband Joe Wetherbee and his second wife Clarissa, continue to organize the event in her memory. In addition to the dozens of toys collected, participants raised $1,513, funds that will be distributed to HAC’s shelter programs as well as families in need during the holiday season, including previous clients.

The giving did not end there as Joe commemorated the occasion by donating a handmade wooden rocking horse to Carriage House that he modeled after a motorcycle with a license plate reading, “Mass 15 Toy Run” on the back.

DSC 6547 resized 600Toy run organizer Joe Wetherbee address the crowd. 

“It’s really because of the children. That is why we are here," Joe Wetherbee said. “We try to give them a Christmas.”

Because of the harsh weather the toy run was missing one aspect – the roar of 200 motorcycles driving down Cape roads – that makes the event so impressive. Still HAC CEO Rick Presbrey said it did not diminish from this year’s run. “I thought it was great that so many people were there on such a horrible day,” he said.

East Falmouth’s Steve Webster was the only participant to brave the inclement weather and ride his motorcycle to Carriage House as others wisely chose to drive their cars and trucks. “I’ve been doing this for about 10 years,” Webster said, acknowledging that he does it, like others do, “for the kids. It is a great cause.”

Inside the shelter he was able to warm up with chili, clam chowder, hot dogs, warm apple cider and coffee, provided by Seafood Sam’s of Sandwich and Falmouth as well as Starbucks of Hyannis. Brothers Jeff and Michael Lewis, who own the respective Seafood Sam’s eateries, were joined by Bob Courtemanche of Mashpee, and Chris Lerch of Sysco Boston, in preparing the food.

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As they worked in the kitchen, several clients sat in the Carriage House living room, playing with their children as they waited for participants to arrive. “I think it is awesome,” said Stephanie Anagnos, who is seven months pregnant and was joined by her 20-month old daughter Althea. “I think it is really cool that so many people care about the situation we are in. I appreciate it a lot.”

It was a sentiment her counterparts shared including Brianna Sheinis. This Christmas, she said, her two-year-old daughter Taryn hopes to get more Barbie dolls.

As for what she wants, it is something not found in a store. “I want a safe home,” Brianna said, her voice lingering for a second. “A safe, stable home. Definitely. It would mean the world to me and it would allow my daughter to thrive and mean that I would be safe and comfortable. It is tough having to bounce around, especially with a child. It is very tough.”

Give Your Own Gift to Shelter Clients

Tags: Homeless, Carriage House, Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run

Homemade Blankets a Gift of Love for Shelter Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Dec 09, 2014 @ 01:31 PM
DSC 5994 resized 600Members of the knitting group include Rose McGillycuddy (from left), Betty Dewar, crochet instructor Wanda Blair of Michael’s, Bridget Fallon, Darlene Simmons, the operations manager at Michael’s, Eileen McDonald, a case manager from Carriage House, Susan Cunningham and Paulette Loomis.

At what point in life do you stop helping others?

If you ask a group of women at the Cape Cod Senior Residences in Bourne their answers will all be the same – you don’t.

Take 88-year-old Paulette Loomis. She is legally blind. “I only have a little vision in my right eye,” she said.

Still that has not stopped Loomis from participating in an activity that has provided complete strangers with a little warmth. She is one of roughly a half dozen women living at the Bourne senior facility who have devoted their time turning strings of yarn into colorful blankets for women and their children staying at the Carriage House Shelter.

“It feels like I’m doing something to ease their pain,” Loomis said. “You feel like you’re doing something for somebody in a small way.”

Individually, the women knit or crochet seven-by-nine-inch squares in their apartments and come together once a month at Michael’s in Falmouth, where they take those squares and turn them into blankets under the guidance of instructor Wanda Blair.

Blair oversees the store’s annual Warm Up America! event in which volunteers throughout the country make hand-knit blankets for those in need.

Darlene Simmons, the operations manager at the Michael’s branch in Falmouth occasionally knits with the group. Last year, she said, they made their first blanket donation to Carriage House. They enjoyed that experience so much they continued to meet monthly to knit and crochet together.

Their joy was derived from the actual knitting, the socialization and the knowledge that someone would benefit from their work. “They feel like they are helping people,” Simmons said. “They feel fortunate and are reaching out to people who are not as fortunate.”

DSC 6001 resized 600Despite being legally blind, Paulette Loomis (right) still finds time to knit blankets for Carriage House clients.

As she knit inside Michael’s in October, Rose McGillycuddy, one month shy of 95, spoke about what the hobby has meant to her. “I’ve been knitting since I was 16,” she said. “It is restful. I like it when I can make something for people who really appreciate it. I think that is very rewarding.”

That same day Rose, Paulette, Betty Dewar, Bridget Fallon and Susan Cunningham, all from the Cape Cod Senior Residences, presented Carriage House case manager Eileen McDonald with two large blankets and seven lap robes. That is on top of two large blankets and four lap robes they donated to Carriage House about two months earlier.

“These blankets are more than just for warmth,” Carriage House facility director Katie Geissler said when asked what they mean to the shelter’s clients. “When wrapped around they are a hug given by someone who wants to show they care. It is important that our women know that they are supported because love and compassion are two ingredients needed for healing.”

 

Give Your Own Gift to Shelter Clients

 

Tags: Katie Geissler, Cape Cod Senior Residences, Carriage House, Michael's

HAC's Shelter Cape Cod Telethon Aims to Fight Homelessness

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Nov 06, 2014 @ 04:14 PM
santa03 resized 600Santa Scott with an attendee from last year's telethon.

“I know what it’s like to be homeless.”

These words were spoken on camera at last year’s Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, not by an adult, but by a child.

It was one of the more poignant moments in the telethon’s 10-year history. “When the students read their essays I was really surprised how many kids had actually experienced homelessness,” said telethon host Mindy Todd of WCAI. “I found those essays really moving.”

Having lent her talents to the telethon for the past five years, Todd said she enjoys the festive event because it fills a vital need in the community. “I think it is important to spread the word for what is happening on Cape Cod. There are many folks who can’t afford to find a place to live and there are such a wide range of reasons that people find themselves on the streets,” she said. “It could be your neighbor. It could be your child, grandchild or grandfather.”

Regardless of how one ends up homeless, Todd stressed that, “everyone deserves to have a roof over their heads.”

And that is what the telethon, now in its 11th year, aims to do. The event is one of HAC’s major annual fundraisers for its four homeless shelters – the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis; Angel House in Hyannis; Carriage House in North Falmouth; and The Village at Cataumet in Bourne.

Money raised not only provides clients with the basic necessities – food and a safe place to sleep – but housing and employment services that help them gain the tools and confidence to become self-sufficient and live independently.

IMG 5816 resized 600Telethon co-host Matt Pitta talks with students from the Nathaniel H. Wixon School in Dennis.

Though the telethon deals with a serious subject matter, Terry Duenas, the executive director of the Cape Cod Community Media Center, said it is always an entertaining evening with a blend of live studio performances and pre-recorded ones featuring local choirs, bands and student ensembles singing holiday favorites. “I love the excitement of a live event,” Duenas said. “It creates a different environment that is always fun.”

His favorite memory from past telethons was when Siobhan Magnus was volunteering on the phones and someone called in and offered a sizable donation if she would sing the Irving Berlin classic “White Christmas.”

“She wasn’t scheduled to sing, but she said, ‘Sure,’” Duenas said. “It was just great.”

Ultimately, he said, the telethon is such a powerful event because the money raised goes to those most in need on Cape Cod. “It helps folks who are right here in the community,” he said.

The success of the telethon is tied to both the sponsors and those manning the phones. Andrew Young, the treasurer for HAC’s executive board of directors, has been a constant presence on the phone bank in recent years, calling friends, family members and co-workers in an effort to raise funds for HAC’s shelter program.

In making those calls, Young has found that people tend to “warm right up because they know someone who has volunteered at NOAH or Angel House or who has been there or might need to be there. And during this time of year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are a lot of folks understanding it is a good time to recognize thankfulness and the generosity of the human spirit.”

This year's telethon takes place on Wednesday, December 10 from 4-9 PM. Residents can watch the live production on local community access Channels 98 and 99 or via the web at www.CapeMedia.org.

To volunteer for the telethon or become a sponsor click this link

Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, Mindy Todd, NOAH Shelter, Village at Cataumet, Carriage House, Angel House