Tag: donations

How to Find Holiday Assistance in Massachusetts

Two hands shaking with random computer designs projected on them

After reading stories about holiday assistance, now you are asking yourself, “How do I find local organizations willing to help me and my family or the families we serve?”

Programs and people that will be there for you

To help you start and finish your holiday assistance search or to find an organizations that accepts donations, here are six of the best statewide resources we found.

1. Food Source Hotline (800)645-8333
Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline has a friendly and helpful staff that will be able to locate emergency food programs and pantries near you. Call the local food pantry to inquire about holiday basket availability and requirements to receive food.

2. Mass 2-1-1
This is a fabulous, comprehensive website for locating local resources for holiday assistance.
If calling 211, dial 6 to ask for assistance.

3. Sharingweb.org
Check out this unique website which focuses on food, shelter, and crisis resources in Massachusetts. Click on “resources,” then “holiday assistance” to locate resources.

4. Salvation Army
Salvation Army is one of America’s favorite charities by reputation. The seasonal red kettle donations help provide winter coats, clothing, gifts and holiday assistance to needy families and the homeless. Enter your zip code on the above link to locate a Salvation Army in your area.

5. Catholic Charities
This is a great resource for low income families needing help year round. The “Basic Needs Emergency Services” includes food, fuel, rental, utility assistance as well as holiday assistance. Available funding varies from city to city.

6. Holiday Assistance Fact Sheet
Our favorite resource is our own MNIP fact sheet on holiday assistance programs in Massachusetts listed by region (statewide, area, and town). The information is current and will save you time and energy in hunting for assistance.

Please let us know of any special organizations or experiences that you want to share.

Happy holidays to all.

A Holiday Assistance Program that Makes a Difference

Agency Spotlight

What do organizations need to think about if they are going to offer assistance during the holidays?

According to Caroline Wenck, Executive Director of SCAN 360, you may want to begin by really thinking about the people you serve and the simple gifts that would make a difference in their lives.

Thoughtful givingThe SCAN 360 bldg entrance

“The Springfield community is very generous, so when all the gifts come in, every inch of these tables is covered,” Caroline stated with a smile.

“But rather than inundating people with gifts, we take a day, invite all the staff and decide which families would benefit the most from each gift. We make it personal so that every donation will mean something. ”

She went on to explain that they only give a few gifts to each person and keep the rest to be distributed during the year.
That just makes sense. As Angela stated last week, you don’t need a lot during the holidays, you just want to know that someone cares.

Giving beyond the holidays

“Another thing we learned during the holidays is that people in the community are willing to give during the year, but you have to ask them.”

When students from Bay Path College made holiday donations to SCAN 360 last year, Caroline accepted their generosity but asked if they would be interested in forming a relationship beyond the holidays. She went on to explain how many families could benefit from food, clothing and even birthday gifts for children during the year.

The students responded by placing a collection bin on every floor of their dormitory where they donate year round.

“It can be more work for the program to take donations throughout the year, but we find it makes a big difference,” Caroline shared.

When you think about it, the lesson learned from SCAN 360 is people want to know that someone cares, not just during the holidays, but throughout the year…and that is the best gift of all.

Empowerment: The Ultimate Gift for the Holidays

Colorful Holiday Gifts

As the holidays approach, we are all faced with the challenge of how to spread joy without overwhelming people with a multitude of donations.

After all, giving is part of the holiday experience, right? And giving to people in need of assistance is especially rewarding as we envision them opening their gifts during the holidays and realizing that people truly care.

Yet as we look at holiday assistance programs, we want you to think about how you can use the generosity of the holidays to really make a difference in a person’s life long after the season ends.

Think about it.

Giving someone a meal during the holidays is a good thing, but if we don’t follow up with a budget plan and perhaps a food stamp application, that same individual may go hungry during the winter.

The importance of giving people control

birch in winter

We will begin next week by presenting an interview with Angela, a woman who shares her personal experience with a holiday assistance program that didn’t end in December. In fact, they assisted her in setting personal goals that have truly made an impact on her life and the lives of her children.

Listen to her words and think about all the people you know who may receive holiday assistance this year and what they would say if asked the same questions.

I think most people would tell you they appreciate the gifts and goodwill, but they would really appreciate it if you could help them take control of their own life.

So maybe next year they could be donating a gift to someone else.

Make sense?