Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Toy Run Embodies Spirit of the Season

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 @ 01:41 PM

hogs bridge

Motorcyclists make their way over the Bourne Bridge and to HAC's Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth. 

On the first Sunday of this month, a sea of roughly 225 motorcycles could be seen making their way from Buzzards Bay over the Bourne Bridge and down Falmouth’s Main Street with one destination in mind – HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

With over $3,000 worth of toys, the goal of the motorcycle brigade was to spread some holiday cheer to children staying in one of HAC’s four family shelters. Now in its 30th year, the Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run started as a way to give back to those who are less fortunate on Cape Cod.

In 1999, the run was named after longtime participant and organizer Christina Wetherbee who died of cancer the following spring.

Her husband Joe and his second wife Clarissa have proudly carried on the tradition. This year, they had some assistance from Joe and Christina’s daughter Tammy Baptiste and her two children Cody Litchfield and Christopher Baptiste. “It is the best way I know to honor my mother’s memory,” Tammy said outside Eagles Hall in Buzzards Bay where the run kicked off. “We look forward to this every year. She loved the children. To be able to carry on this tradition means so much to me.”

joe&daughter

Tammy Baptiste with her father Joe Wetherbee. The pair helped organize this year's toy run along with Joe's wife Clarissa and Tammy's two songs Cody and Christopher. 

Along with the toys, this year’s participants raised $4,900 to support HAC’s housing programs, including a $2,000 donation from the Eagles Club.

“That’s what we are all about is people helping people and giving back to the community,” said Kim Genson, a trustee with the club. “We’ve got to take care of those in need.”

For Sarah and her son Izaiah, who have been at Carriage House for a month, seeing the outpouring of support from toy run participants was inspiring. “It means a lot to have people think about the homeless at this time of year,” she said. “To have people think about those who are less fortunate, that is the real spirit of Christmas.”

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Tags: Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Clarissa Wetherbee, Joe Wetherbee, Carriage House, The Village at Cataumet, Scattered Sites, Angel House, holiday giving, charitable giving, Falmouth, Bourne

Toy Run Ushers in Holiday Season

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 02:21 PM
small Wetherbee Toy Run Photo-1Joe and Clarissa Wetherbee with HAC Event Coordinator Deanna Bussiere (middle). The Wetherbees are preparing for the 19th Annual Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run on Sunday, November 4. 

On the first Sunday in November, Santa Claus will make his first holiday appearance of the year at HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

It’s an annual tradition that dates back 30 years with motorcyclists from throughout the region joining Santa in delivering gifts to children in need.

“It’s for the kids,” said Joe Wetherbee, who organizes the event each fall with his wife Clarissa.

In 1999, the ride was renamed the Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run in honor of Joe’s first wife, Christina, an organizer and participant in the event, who died of cancer the following spring.

The run begins at Eagles Hall in Buzzards Bay with roughly 200 motorcyclists bringing new unwrapped toys that will go to children staying in one of HAC’s four family shelters that includes Angel House in Hyannis, the Village at Cataumet in Bourne, and Scattered Sites in Hyannis.

They make the trek to Carriage House where they are greeted by HAC staff and families in shelter.

“It’s a great yearly event that kicks off the holiday season,” said Paula Mallard, program director at the Village at Cataumet. “The toys and money that get donated help provide Christmas for our clients and makes the holiday season a little happier for a lot of our children.”

Clarissa said the event serves as a reminder of the need that exists in the community. “It’s not their fault they are in these shelters,” she said. “It could happen to anybody… It could happen to the richest person in the world; their children or they themselves could end up in a shelter.”

That is why the toy run, which also raises funds for HAC’s housing programs, is so important. “What we do brings a lot of joy at Christmas time,” Joe said.

HOGS Flyer for HACbeat article 10-18

Tags: Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Carriage House, Clarissa Wetherbee, Joe Wetherbee, holiday giving, Falmouth, Santa Claus, Paula Mallard, Christmas

Rockland Trust Gives Back

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 @ 05:25 PM
Rockland-4Rockland Trust Falmouth Branch Supervisor Anna Bowen (left) and Falmouth Branch Manager Becky Harris lending a hand at HAC’s Carriage House shelter. 

During the last week of June, seven Rockland Trust employees opted to leave the confines of their respective offices and enjoy a sunny summer day outside.

They did so to give back to HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth. Over the course of several hours they cleared brush, raked and removed piles of wood in an effort to help beautify the shelter’s grounds.

“It looks like a different place,” said Mindy Caron, the program director at Carriage House. “I honestly felt overwhelmed by their generosity.”

Nanette Davidson, vice president of business banking for Rockland Trust, said that generosity is inherent in the bank’s work. “We are committed to our community and we want to make a difference,” she said.

Throughout the year, Rockland Trust offers its employees multiple opportunities to volunteer and make a difference in their community.

Several branch managers including three from Falmouth – Anne Marie Dillon of East Falmouth, Becky Harris of Falmouth, and Kristen Cassell of North Falmouth – took part in last month’s effort.

The day had extra meaning for Cassell, whose branch is down the street from Carriage House.

“Hopefully, this gives them a little joy,” Cassell said of the mothers staying at the shelter. “We want to give them a nice place to stay, and for us, this is only one day out of our lives and we’re happy to do it.”

Volunteer at HAC

Are you interested in volunteering at Housing Assistance Corporation? Email our Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin at volunteer@haconcapecod.org for info on volunteer opportunities that allow you to make an impact in our community. 

Tags: Carriage House, Rockland Trust, volunteer, HAC Volunteers, volunteering, giving back, Mindy Caron

Southport Supports Carriage House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 @ 02:52 PM

 

Southport-1Carriage House's Laurie Ronayne (middle) with Southport's Laurel Samuels (from left), Judy Phillips, Nancy DiFinizio and Cheryl Piesco. 

In May, roughly 20 Southport residents took to the runway, modeling spring and summer fashion as part of an event that raised funds for HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

“A lot of us here are moms and have children and now grandchildren and had wonderful support systems in our homes,” said Laura Samuels, a resident of the 55 and over community in Mashpee. “To know someone is alone in this world and doesn’t have that kind of support network is unthinkable. These young girls who are raising babies in the shelter can use a helping hand at this point in their life.”

The fashion show raised more than $2,300 for Carriage House which serves young mothers and their children. Clothing for the models was provided by L.L. Bean in Mashpee and Cape Chic in Falmouth.

Among those taking part in the event was Laurie Ronayne, the house manager at the shelter, who has been at HAC for 25 years because “I want to make a difference and pay it forward.”

At the fashion show, she shared her story of not only working at the shelter, but “growing up really poor,” she said. “At one point I was couch surfing and I had been that route. With the girls at the shelter, I tell them, ‘You can do anything if you want to. We have all the tools to help you move forward.’”

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Tags: Carriage House, Family Shelter, Mashpee, Southport, Laurie Ronayne, charitable giving, giving

Donor Spotlight: Jim Hinkle & Roy Hammer

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Apr 25, 2018 @ 04:21 PM
Jim and Roy-2Since 1994, Roy Hammer (left) and Jim Hinkle have been supporting HAC as a way to make an impact at the local level. 

Nearly 14 years ago, Jim Hinkle and Roy Hammer decided to close their art gallery, Cummaquid Fine Arts on Route 6A, and enter the next phase of their life – retirement.

Since then they have enjoyed the perks that come with making your own routine. They regularly take trips over the Canal to take in performances at the Boston Symphony and exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Travel has also been a priority; over the past six years, they have explored Europe and they will do once again later this year when they go on a Baltic cruise, from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg to Stockholm.

Just as rewarding as these personal adventures has been the opportunity to make an impact on this place they have called home for the past 32 years.

The couple, who both attended Yale University and met while graduate students at Harvard University in 1965, have focused their giving on three local nonprofits – Housing Assistance Corporation, Duffy Health Center, and Cape Abilities. “With all of these, there’s a theme of helping people in need and people living below the line,” said Hinkle.

Next year will represent a milestone for the two, at least in terms of donor longevity. That is when they will become members of the quarter century club, having donated to HAC every year since 1994.

The two were initially drawn to the agency thanks to HAC’s efforts to support the region’s homeless. Shortly thereafter, they took a tour of HAC’s properties “and that is when we realized what a much larger organization it was, and when we recognized that, we increased our support,” Hinkle said.

Having an organization like HAC on Cape Cod, Hammer said, is vital, especially for the region’s workforce. “The problem is, there isn’t enough affordable housing for people who make the general salary on Cape Cod.”

“The jobs available don’t pay enough for people to afford living here,” Hinkle said.

And so the two continue to give to HAC because they know the work it is doing is transforming the lives of their neighbors, from those who have little-to-no income to those who are working to purchase their first home here.

“I think it’s important to support organizations [like HAC] in our community,” Hinkle said. “It can make a lasting difference.”

Why We Give

With over a dozen programs that help those of all income levels on Cape Cod and the Islands, Jim Hinkle and Roy Hammer know that each plays a vital role in the lives of HAC clients.

“I think it’s very important what HAC does,” Hinkle said. “They prepare people for housing and enable people to eventually afford housing. And I think the programs HAC offers, in terms of homeownership, are very valuable.”

But to them, the programs that support single parents – specifically its Angel House shelter in Hyannis and Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth – are particularly meaningful. “We’re very impressed with their programs for single parents who are trying to make a go of it,” said Hinkle.

Since 1991, HAC’s Angel House shelter has supported mothers overcoming addiction and their children. Two years earlier, HAC purchased Carriage House in North Falmouth which serves younger mothers and their children.

Both shelters are vital, the pair said, for providing single parents with the support they need to move forward with their lives in a productive manner.

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Tags: Donor Spotlight, HAC donors, Roy Hammer, Jim Hinkle, Cummaquid, Duffy Health Center, charitable giving, giving, Barnstable, Angel House, Carriage House

A Gift of Warmth

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Mar 29, 2018 @ 05:36 PM

Michael's Knitters Donation Story

Once a month, women at the Cape Cod Senior Residences in Pocasset travel to Michaels in Falmouth, where they knit an array of colorful blankets, hats and scarves. Recently, the group donated those handmade items to the mothers and children staying at HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth.

Those taking part in the knitting group included Rose McGillycuddy (from front left), Helen Duarte and Charlene D’Errico. They were joined by Wanda Blair (from rear left), a certified yarn instructor at Michaels, Lisa Marie Chinappi, an enriched life director at Cape Cod Senior Residences, and Carriage House’s Laurie Ronayne.

You can read more about the group's love of knitting and support of HAC's Carriage House shelter by clicking this link

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Tags: Carriage House, knitting, Cape Cod Senior Residences, Falmouth

New Director Brings Expertise and Passion to Carriage House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 @ 05:40 PM
Mindy Caron-1.jpgMindy Caron in front of HAC's Carriage House family shelter in North Falmouth. 

I love the opportunity to help as many people as possible turn their lives around,” Mindy Caron said last month at HAC’s Carriage House shelter in North Falmouth. Caron is helping HAC’s clients do exactly that as Carriage House’s new facility director.

Caron, who was hired at HAC two years ago, initially served as the family therapist at Angel House in Hyannis, which supports mothers overcoming addiction and their children. Last fall, she transferred to HAC’s main office where she assisted the agency in redesigning its intake and referral process.

At the end of January, she was promoted to her current position at Carriage House, which assists mothers and their children. The shelter, which typically caters to younger, first-time mothers, has the capacity to house 10 families at any one time.

While the primary goal at Carriage House is to provide housing to keep families safe, Caron said, the shelter supports each mother by giving them the tools, resources and support so they will hopefully never have to return to shelter again.

Her aim with each client is to get them to establish a goal and have them take steps to achieve it. “People who come here have come out of such a crisis that they have often never stopped to question, ‘What do I really want? Where do I want to be in this world?’” Caron said. “We begin asking these questions so these women have a dream because that is the most motivating thing they can have.”

Carriage House offers a number of services that allow clients to work towards such goals. It starts with hands-on case management, Caron said, but also includes assisting with resume writing and accessing jobs; improving their parenting skills; budgeting; and finding housing.

Through its Playspace Program, Horizons for Homeless Children offers playtime opportunities for the younger ones at Carriage House.

Caron, who moved to Cape Cod from Indiana three years ago to be closer to family, was pleased to have found an agency like HAC where she can use her previous social service expertise as a counselor, executive director, and chief operations officer, to benefit our clients. “I love it here, I really do,” she said. “I consider HAC to be a fine organization with stellar goals which are really, really needed on the Cape.”

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Tags: Carriage House, Family Shelter, shelter, Mindy Caron, Horizons for Homeless Children, Falmouth, Angel House

Donor Spotlight: Carolyn Crowell 

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 @ 02:41 PM
Carolyn Crowell-1.jpgCarolyn Crowell knitting at her home in Sandwich. Over the years, her handmade mittens have made their way onto the hands of clients in our family shelters. 

This past October, Carolyn Crowell celebrated her 91st birthday. When asked what the secret is to a long, healthy, happy life, she said, “keep active for as long as you can.”

Despite the aches and pains that come with old age, Crowell has been able to do exactly that. She is a voracious reader. She is on the Board of Directors for Camp Farley; sits on the Sandwich Historical Commission; and clips news articles for the Town of Sandwich archives.

This January, Crowell stepped down as a volunteer at Plimouth Plantation where she initially portrayed the role of Elizabeth Warren, a Pilgrim from the 1600s, before taking a behind-the-scenes role, knitting costumes and other garments in the wardrobe department.

Crowell still continues to knit, primarily mittens which she regularly makes for the Unitarian Church of Barnstable’s annual craft fair. She has donated some of her mittens to HAC where they have made their way onto the hands of clients at Angel House in Hyannis and Carriage House in North Falmouth.

The two shelters both serve mothers and their children; Angel House’s adult clients are all overcoming addiction.

Crowell was proud of the fact that her handmade creations have been able to provide some much-needed warmth to HAC clients that are most in need. And she had high praise for HAC staff who work with this population who have all been homeless. “You’ve got to have a special skill to work with those people to convince them there is a chance things will get better,” she said.

Crowell, who has witnessed HAC grow in size, scope and stature over the three decades she has supported the agency, was impressed with the agency’s development over the years. “What struck me is the diversity of housing-related activities and the staff members who were acquainted with and can help everyone from the homeless to low-income residents to people trying to buy a home,” she said. “I’m sure when [HAC founder] Rick [Presbrey] started this, he never dreamed it would ever get to be this big, but it kept going and going.”

That growth may be the result of the need that exists here on the Cape. “The cost of housing on the Cape is quite expensive, especially where so much of our economy is based on tourism and so much of our service-related jobs don’t pay that well,” she said. “Therefore, we have many people who haven’t had the money or the good job to afford to buy a house. So they have to make do with substandard housing.”

Because of the difficulties facing many Cape Codders, Crowell understands supporting an agency like HAC is crucial to addressing the region’s housing issues.

Why I Give: Carolyn Crowell 

In 1923, newlyweds David and Dorothy Crowell celebrated their marriage by purchasing Crow Farm in Sandwich, building a home on the 45-acre property where they raised their three children, Howard, Carolyn and Eleanor.

That home still stands today and is owned by the Crowell’s middle child, Carolyn, who was born three years after it was built. At 91, she has lived the majority of her life there, first as a child and then when she returned home in 1978 after stints off-Cape in New Hampshire, Michigan, and New Jersey where she worked primarily as a 4-H county extension agent.

Her home – its longevity and the stability it has provided in her life – may be one reason why Crowell has been such a longtime, passionate supporter of HAC. Over the past three decades, she has been an annual donor to HAC and served as a volunteer, helping with everything from mailings to serving on an advisory committee for one of HAC’s properties.

She explained her commitment to HAC in this way: “Organizations like HAC can do things I can’t do that need to be done. I can help other people who have the expertise and inspiration to carry on.”

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Tags: HAC donors, Donor Spotlight, Carolyn Crowell, Carriage House, Angel House, Philanthropy, charitable giving, knitting, Sandwich

Toy Run Spreads Holiday Cheer for 29th Straight Year

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 @ 10:06 AM
Toy Run17-2.jpgSanta leads the parade of nearly 200 motorcyles that made their way to HAC's Carriage House shelter last month. 

Ariana and her nine-month-old daughter had only been at Carriage House for a little more than a month when nearly 200 motorcyclists delivered over $3,000 worth of toys to the North Falmouth shelter on the first Sunday of November. 

“This means a lot,” she said. “I feel like for the kids, Christmas is really important.”

The Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run gives children in HAC’s four family shelters – Carriage House; Angel House in Hyannis; the Village at Cataumet in Bourne; and Scattered Sites in Hyannis – an opportunity to experience the joy of the holidays thanks to the generosity of the bikers who participate in the annual event.

The toy run started 29 years ago as a way to spread some holiday cheer to children in shelter. In 1999, it was named in honor of Joe Wetherbee’s first wife Christina, an organizer of the event, who died of cancer the following spring. Joe and his second wife Clarissa continue to hold the event every year with the support of the Cape Cod Harley Owners Group.

“All of these bikers have come together today for these kids and their families to let each and every one of them know that because they are here… doesn’t mean that they’re forgotten. Because they are not,” an emotional Clarissa told those in attendance who came from as far away as Boston and Rhode Island to participate in the event which also raised nearly $3,000 for HAC’s housing programs. “They will have clothes on their back at Christmas and for their birthdays, and they will have toys, and they will have love.”

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Tags: Carriage House, Chris Wetherbee Memorial Toy Run, Joe Wetherbee, Clarissa Wetherbee, holiday giving, Falmouth, charitable giving

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