Dozens of sleeping bags and hundreds of gift bags and gift cards were among the many donations that came into the Housing Assistance office in Hyannis to give comfort and cheer to some of our neediest neighbors during the holiday season.
“Our donors stepped up in a way that is truly inspiring,” said Lin Grace Rohr, director of community engagement and donor stewardship at Housing Assistance. “We cannot thank them enough for their kindness and generosity.”
Kelli Dottridge with some of the 150 holiday gift bags she donated to Housing Assistance clients.
For instance, Kelli Dottridge of Osterville coordinated friends and volunteers from the Cotuit Federated Church, the South Congregational Church in Centerville and the youth group of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich to fill 150 gift bags for teenagers and other individuals experiencing homelessness or living in shelters. The gift bags contain gloves, hats, blankets, snacks, toiletries and books; many of the items were donated by local businesses.
In addition, Dottridge donated 47 sleeping bags, which were distributed by Housing Assistance’s homeless outreach coordinators to people who are living in tents or cars.
The Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® filled more than 50 “welcome home” baskets for Housing Assistance clients moving from a shelter to transitional or permanent housing. The baskets were filled with cookware, cleaning products, bedding, towels and other items people need when starting out in a new home. Carriage House shelter director Gemma Rehm said the cost of basic items like these can add up if someone has to buy them all at once.
“I am so fortunate to see the faces of the moms who receive these baskets,” said Rehm. “There are tears of thanks and happiness. It’s the final part of their journey, from shelter to their own home, and to send them off with this gift is beyond special.”
Meanwhile, nurse Amy Dempsey organized a toy drive for the Carriage House Shelter. She put together gift bags for the moms at the house, which included fleece blankets, toiletries and gift cards, along with toys for the kids. Rehm said that the mothers were truly overwhelmed and very grateful to receive the gifts for their children and themselves.
For over 20 years, Swift Memorial Church in Sagamore Beach has decorated an Angel Tree for gift giving to families. It started as giving to the nine families at Carriage House and over the years has turned into giving for all three shelters and even stabilization families if needed. This holiday season, they contributed more than 100 gifts of toys, clothing and gift cards.
Doug Mackie, owner of Living Water Restoration and Mold Remediation in West Barnstable, donated hundreds of $5 gift cards for McDonald’s, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts and $15 for Stop and Shop. The gift cards will enable people who are homeless to sit in a warm, safe space and enjoy a hot meal or beverage without fear of being asked to leave.
“Everyone at Housing Assistance is grateful to all those who donated goods and money so generously this holiday season,” said CEO Alisa Magnotta.