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Jamaica Plain-based Charity for the Homeless, hopeFound, Honors Volunteers

Over 100 volunteers filled the Turville Conference Room at Shattuck Hospital.

Wednesday evening, , a JP-based organization dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness, celebrated its 2011 Volunteer Appreciation Event at .

hopeFound has assisted thousands of individuals regain self-sufficiency, and none of this work would've been possible without the dedication of hundreds of selfless individuals who log 3,800 hour a year in volunteer services—a high mark by any standard.

Every volunteer has helped in their own ways ranging from playing classical music at the shelter, to eye care, to preparing and serving meals, providing one-on-one counseling, to free legal services.

This year hopeFound honored three individuals and four organizations:

Brookline native Laura D'Amato a board member and attorney, who has been working with hopeFound since 2003. She was encouraged by her colleague Jack Eiferman — also with hopeFound for many years — together they have brought the services of their legal firm, Goulston & Storrs to assist hopeFound clients with legal issues.

Sisters Megan and Kaitlin Fox make sure each one of hopeFound's clients and guests has a present at Christmas. Volunteer Coordinator Elizabeth Condron remarked that Christmas can by a trying time for anybody, never mind when you are facing daunting personal problems. She related how a client shared that the present she received at hopeFound was the first one she got in 10 years.

Julie Leven with Shelter Music Boston has been providing live classical interpretations at the Shattuck Shelter for a year. She related how music has a universal transformational and healing effect, and how deeply appreciative hopeFound's clients are of having access to quality music. "In my year-long relationship with hopeFound it has always been a happy experience," said Leven.

Kathleen Rezendes with BNY Mellon Save our Soaps helped collect 3,400 pounds of travel size toiletries that are packed into welcome bags to greet hopeFound's new clients. Rezendes remarked "I brought my own heroes: My parents," to which the parents smiled widely. 

Dr. Gary Chu of the New England College of Optometry and DAVISVISION have provided free vision screening and prescription eyeware for 18 of hopeFound's clients, and detecting problems such as glaucoma and diabetes.

Hayes Miller of Winchester has been assisting hopeFound's clients with job readiness for the last 18 months. He meets weekly with clients to help them assess their job readiness using computer tools, and leads other volunteers in the same effort. 

Present also were groups of volunteers from from JP and from Allin Congregational based in Dedham, among others.

According to hopeFound each homeless individual in Boston annually represents $28,436 in healthcare costs. The same cost is reduced to $6,056 annually when individuals are housed.

According to the group's Web site, in the past four years, hopeFound has housed 510 individuals, including 104 in 2009–without building any new housing.

They did it through new partnerships with the Boston Housing Authority, nonprofit housing providers such as Caritas Communities, and private landlords.

87 percent of those housed for at least one year kept their housing, accordin to the organization's site.

hopeFound had helped hundreds of individuals find permanent housing and employment and to take care of their health.

Among hopeFound programs is a Street Outreach Team that approaches people living under bridges and similar locations and assist them to re-entry main-stream living.

If you'd like to contribute to hopeFound the items below are needed:

  • Gift certificates to supermarkets, department store and restaurants

  • Reading glasses

  • Long-distance phone cards

Interview Clothing

  • Suits (men's and women's)

  • Men's and women's dress shoes

  • New and gently used men's dress shirts and blouses

Casual clothing

  • Men's and women's sweatpants ans sweatshirts

  • Men's and women's dark-colored jeans and pants

  • New men's and women's underwear

  • Tote bags and backpacks

Footwear

  • New white crew socks

  • Sneakers and boots (adult sizes)

  • Flip-flops (shower shoes)

Summer Toiletries

  • Sunscreen

  • Chapstick

  • Foot powder

Cash contributions may be made through hopeFound site. And, of course, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities.

You may also call Elizabeth Condron at 617-983-0351 ext. 337, econdron@hopefoundboston.org

Donations drop off hours: Every day 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.



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