As part of their Day of Service event, several hundred vounteers from Progress assembled kits for local social service programs. The Winter Wellness Kits included basic toiletries, first aid supplies, trail mix, hot drink mixes and fleece blankets, among other items.
MHSA's kits were immediately put to use for dozens of clients, including those staying at MHSA homeless shelters and substance abuse recovery homes. The kits also made a huge impact for homeless individuals living on the streets of Waltham, who received items through MHSA's street outreach worker.
In recognition of Progress' generosity, MHSA Development Director, Jarred Damico, spoke at the event, giving praise to Progress and encouraging its employees to continue giving back in their own communities. MHSA also gave thanks to Building Impact, which facilitated the event and connected the participating agencies. A copy of Development Director Damico's speech is copied below:
Good morning everyone,
Founded in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1977, MHSA is the product of humble roots and an enduring mission. From a single drug and alcohol detox in the 1970s, MHSA has grown into a multifaceted agency, with critical services addressing the effects of homelessness, substance abuse and food insecurity.
Today, we operate 10 programs throughout the Metro Boston area, including family and individual homeless shelters, substance abuse recovery homes, a soup kitchen and food pantry, a second-offender driving under the influence of liquor program, a mobile food market and more.
And while our assortment of programs reflects an incredibly diverse body of clients, staff and partners, we all rally around the same, simple mission. To help those in need, while emphasizing dignity, respect and empowerment.
At its core, MHSA believes that all people deserve help, when help is needed. We believe in being stewards of compassion within our community and we believe in the importance of volunteerism and giving back.
Which is exactly where you come in.
By offering support to an agency like MHSA, you are helping to provide clean and safe shelter, open a pathway to recovery or put a hot meal on the table. You are providing hope to a child without a stable home, an adult battling for a new day of sobriety or a neighbor without access to healthy, affordable food.
For many of the people who rely on MHSA’s services, receiving a warm blanket might not solve every one of their problems. However, it can eliminate at least one aspect of a long and daunting list of needs. It can free up the valuable time of staff who often only have the resources to focus on a person or family’s most urgent issues. It can provide comfort at a time when surroundings might be new, stressful and uncertain.
Remember that many small acts can add up to create momentous change – just as you and your fellow volunteers will collectively see today.
Also remember that each gesture of kindness holds the potential to inspire hope in the heart of another person. And we know that hope is not momentary or fleeting, but rather, a lens through which someone views the world. Hope is the life-vest that keeps us afloat in times of turmoil, when there’s nothing else to hold onto. Oftentimes, when we provide hope to others, we are providing hope, in equal measure, to ourselves – which is one of the amazing aspects of today’s event.
I encourage you to go out and build upon today’s experience. Continue to volunteer, give back and get to know the people in your community who could benefit most from your individual talents or resources.
Keep in mind that issues like homelessness, substance abuse and food insecurity persist at all hours, during all seasons, throughout every day of every year. Many of the effects are complex, chronic and require specialized assistance from agencies with well-trained and dedicated staff. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot help.
The more support agencies like MHSA, Pine Street Inn and the YWCA receive, the more effectively we can help the people who both deserve and desperately require our services. The more you help, the more you become a steward of compassion within your own community, creating positive change for the days, months or perhaps even years to come.
I want to sincerely thank, with all my heart, the staff at Building Impact, my inspiring partners at
Pine Street Inn in and the Cambridge YWCA – and most importantly, each of you, the incredible volunteers from Progress. You are all doing something wonderful today, and on behalf of MHSA, words truly fail to describe my appreciation for your time, energy and generous donation to the deserving people who rely on all of us, each day.