Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Donor Gives Message of Hope to Angel House Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 @ 01:39 PM
Matt Sullivan Edited-1.jpg
Matthew Sullivan has connected with the work being done at HAC’s Angel House shelter. In December, he will deliver a holiday meal and gifts to the clients there for the second straight year.  

"I’m living proof someone can change their life with the help of others,” Matthew Sullivan said recently at HAC where he was dropping off donations – a lamp, microwave, dishes, and more - to the agency’s Welcome Home Gift Basket program.

The donations, which will go to HAC clients transitioning out of shelter and into permanent housing, was the latest contribution that West Bridgewater’s Sullivan has made to HAC.

On Christmas Eve last December, he delivered a holiday meal and gifts to clients at HAC’s Angel House shelter in Hyannis. He plans on doing so again next month. Angel House is a program that supports mothers recovering from substance abuse and their children.

As someone who was homeless and has been in recovery for over 12 years, Sullivan relates to what clients at Angel House are going through. He was able to turn his life around through a recovery program for men. He said the work being done at Angel House reminds him of the program that had helped him through his struggles.

Today, Sullivan is happily married with three children, and works full-time as a fitness trainer and co-owner of MAD Boot Camps in Marshfield. “I’m trying to give a message of hope,” Sullivan said of his efforts to support HAC’s Angel House shelter and those it serves.

Donate to Angel House

Tags: Family Shelter, Angel House, Christmas, holiday giving, HAC donors, Matthew Sullivan

Shelter Telethon Embodies the Holiday Spirit

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Nov 02, 2017 @ 01:38 PM

HACbeat Email Photo.jpg

There’s a moment every year when Cape Cod Broadcasting’s Matt Pitta truly gets into the spirit of the holiday season. It always happens at the same event – HAC’s annual Shelter Cape Cod Telethon – which Pitta co-hosts with WCAI’s Mindy Todd.

“The vibe and the atmosphere in the studio all night is kind of electrifying,” he said. “That’s when I get into the holiday spirit – when I see people giving back to the community. That is the true spirit of the holidays right there.”

This year’s telethon, now in its 14th year, will take place on Thursday, December 14, from 5-9 pm. The show is broadcast live from Cape Cod Community Media Center and airs on local cable access channels throughout the Cape.

The telethon will feature HAC staff, elected officials, and community leaders working to help those most in need on Cape Cod and the Islands, placing a spotlight on the region’s housing and homelessness issues.

Funds raised from the telethon go to support HAC’s programs, including homeless outreach as well as its four family shelters – Angel House in Hyannis, the Village at Cataumet in Bourne, Carriage House in North Falmouth, and Scattered Sites in Hyannis.

“I do think every year that it gives a special meaning to Christmas,” said HAC volunteer Wayne Bergeron of Dennis who assists with the event.

Pitta said the telethon serves as an opportunity for people “to make a difference in the community. And that’s really what the holidays are all about.”

Support the Telethon

Sponsor the Telethon, an event that epitomizes the true meaning of the holiday season! Contact HAC Event Coordinator Deanna Bussiere at dbussiere@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 270.

HAC relies on volunteer phone fundraisers at the Telethon to raise funds to ensure we can continue to support the region’s most vulnerable residents. You can register by clicking this link. If you have questions, please contact HAC Volunteer Coordinator Mary Everett-Patriquin at volunteer@haconcapecod.org or 508-771-5400, ext. 279 to sign up.

You can also donate to the Telethon by clicking this link

Tags: Shelter Cape Cod Telethon, NOAH Telethon, Mindy Todd, Fundraising, Matt Pitta, Christmas, Wayne Bergeron, holiday giving

Toy Run Brings Joy to Children in Shelter

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

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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)

4-H Club Brings Holiday Cheer to Angel House

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 @ 05:14 PM
group fixed DSC_0604.jpgA sampling of some of the creative cook designs made during last month's holiday party organized by the Harwich 4-H Club. 

Candy canes covered in red and green stripes, a gingerbread man adorned with a smiley face and green sweater, and snowmen with top hats.

These were just a few of the decorative cookie creations that six members of Harwich’s 4-H Club made alongside mothers and children staying at HAC’s Angel House shelter. They did so together, sitting quietly at the dining room tables inside two of the houses on the Angel House property where frosting and sprinkles were applied carefully to sugar and gingerbread cookies.

This festive scene took place just four days before Christmas, part of an annual holiday tradition started by the club three years ago. Each year they do something different; last year was a potluck dinner followed by games and the year before they helped the families decorate the Christmas trees at Angel House.

“This is fun,” said Jaylene, one of the mothers at Angel House, as she decorated cookies next to her daughter. “It’s nice of them to donate their time.”

She has been at the shelter for nearly four months. “It has given me a sense of security,” she said. “I feel safe here.”

Once she leaves shelter, she hopes to go back to school and become a drug counselor. “I want to give back in some way and help people,” she said.

Tags: Angel House, volunteerism, Christmas, holiday giving

St. Francis Xavier Students Give Back

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 @ 04:47 PM
St Francis-1.jpgAva Ferreira (from left), Aubrey Homa, Juliana Maurice, Kailey Gorsuch and Emily August of St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School hold up a few of the gifts and blankets that they and their classmates donated to children at Angel House. 

No other time of the year encourages giving more than the holidays. That is why over 50 seventh and eighth graders from St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School in Hyannis, purchased toys and designed baby blankets, which their parents and grandparents knit, that were given to children at HAC’s Angel House shelter last month.

Eighth grader Aubrey Homa explained their act of generosity in a simple way: “Christmas is the time for giving.”

“We want to help other people so they have a happy Christmas,” added her classmate Juliana Maurice.

“If we were in their situation, I know they’d want to help us too,” said eighth grader Ava Ferreira about the recipients of their goodwill.

Donate to Angel House

Tags: Angel House, Christmas, holiday giving, St. Francis Xavier

Basket Party Celebrates 25 Years of Anonymous Giving

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 @ 10:15 AM
Princi Party Edited.jpgMichael Princi speaking at the gift party he helped organize last month. Princi and his family have organized the party for more than 25 years, encouraging their friends and family to purchase gifts for HAC clients in need. 

There may be no act of charity more powerful than anonymous giving. And over the past 25 years, Michael and Area Princi of Marstons Mills, their family and friends have done just that, giving thousands of children in HAC shelters a little joy during the holiday season.

They have done so by purchasing toys anonymously and bringing them to the Princi’s Christmas Basket Party held every December. This year, nearly 200 people participated in the annual event so that over 120 children in need would have gifts to open on Christmas morning.

“There are people who have absolutely nothing who we give to and we make their Christmas,” Michael told roughly 50 people in attendance at last month’s party held at the Cummaquid Golf Course. “So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Every year, everybody comes through and I really appreciate it. You don’t know how gratifying it is.”

Among those who are recipients of this kindness are children staying at Angel House in Hyannis. Lin Rohr, the facility director at the HAC shelter, expressed appreciation for those who participated in this year’s party, explaining what it can mean to those the agency serves.

She mentioned one child “who had given up hope” and initially said he did not want anything for Christmas. When pressed, the boy asked for a mini keyboard so he could practice the piano. The donor who picked the child’s name, Rohr said, has a passion for music and ended up purchasing a full keyboard for him.

“For this boy who is in junior high, it will give him his hope back,” Rohr said. “I know it will.”

It is just one example, she said, of “the connection between the generosity of the giver and the hopes of a child in need… I happen to be the bridge between both sides and it is phenomenal.”

Tags: Michael Princi, Philanthropy, Angel House, Christmas, charitable giving, Christmas Basket Party

Bringing Christmas Cheer to the NOAH Shelter

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 @ 12:06 PM
Greg and Santa at NOAH (Christmas) resized 600NOAH Shelter Director Greg Bar and Santa Claus on Christmas morning. 

Slippers, soap, flashlights, toothbrushes and water bottles are not at the top of most people’s Christmas lists.

But on Christmas morning, these basic gifts were handed out to homeless men and women who had spent the previous night at the NOAH Shelter in Hyannis. They were small in worth, but the items were invaluable to the recipients.

“Kindness,” was the answer one client offered when asked what the gifts meant to him.

“This is great for those who don’t have family or anywhere to go for Christmas,” said another client in his mid-20’s who has been homeless for nearly nine months.

The experience of being on the streets, he said, “is pretty miserable” and celebrating the holidays in shelter was difficult because he would not be with his son on Christmas.

But thanks to the charitableness of complete strangers – people like Michael and Area Princi of Marstons Mills, Lisa Balegno of Marstons Mills and her daughters Rachel and Ashley, Jerry and Susan Friedman of Cotuit, and Jason and Melissa Rossi of Marstons Mills – the clients at the NOAH Shelter had something to celebrate. The group arrived at the shelter at 5:30 on Christmas morning, adorned in Santa hats and armed with eggs, sausage, potatoes and bread.

Together, they made breakfast to order – omelettes, scrambled eggs and French toast, helping to ensure the holiday started off on the right foot for NOAH clients. It is a tradition the Princi’s have done for the last, “five or six years… It is really one of the most rewarding Christmas mornings you can have because we get more heartfelt ‘thank you’s’ from everybody that comes out,” Michael said. “It is not normal for the homeless and people at the shelter to be waited on and be given a nice, hot breakfast.”

Since 1990, the Princi’s have also organized a holiday gift basket drive for families in shelter and those making the transition out of it. Michael talked about the lessons the drive has taught his children and grandchildren. “One of the things it did for them is that it gave them a tremendous appreciation for everything we have and how important it is to remember and act to help those who don’t have as much,” he said.

Cape Cod's Secret Santa

HAC has witnessed similar charity in one anonymous donor - a true Secret Santa - who donated $50 each to clients at the NOAH Shelter this past December, just as he has in recent years.

That spirit continued through Christmas morning at NOAH, where following breakfast, shelter director Greg Bar was joined by Santa Claus in singing a medley of Christmas songs that included “Holly Jolly Christmas”, “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” as clients joined in.

Scott and Jackie Dutra of Centerville, and their two daughters Gabriella, 16, and Miranda, 15, then handed out gifts to the clients.

“I need these so bad,” one homeless woman said as she was given slippers.

The festivities ended with a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung by Mary Stacey-Smith, who works at both the NOAH Shelter and Angel House. “This is great,” she said afterwards. “Hopefully, this lifted people’s spirits and gave them something to celebrate on Christmas. This was a way to make their morning bright and start the day off right.”

Inside the shelter’s kitchen, Bar proudly reflected on the Christmas celebration with Santa by his side. “At least we gave them something to remember,” Bar said.

For Santa, the morning epitomized what the holiday is all about. “All the love in this shelter for the homeless is inspiring. It really is,” he said.

 

Donate to the NOAH Shelter

Tags: Santa Claus, Michael Princi, NOAH Shelter, Greg Bar, Christmas, Area Princi