Festival of Trees: Joy, Support for Shelters

Join the fun at The Hingham Mothers’ Club (HMC) Festival of Trees, Dec. 2 and 3 at the Hingham Community Center. The annual event brings joy to the season and much-needed support for our homeless shelters.

This year the Festival features 40 beautiful trees on display as part of Hingham’s Christmas in the Square celebration. Continue reading Festival of Trees: Joy, Support for Shelters

Norwell Kids Get New Play Space, Built in Record Time

1 + 1 + 14 + 4 = 170 Square Foot Fence for Norwell Kids’ Safety!

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, project, AVO Fence, Weymouth, MA
Art Carol of AVO Fence and Nancy O’Neill who led the fence-building effort in Norwell.

How 1 woman’s determination, 1 donor’s generosity, and 14 energetic volunteers gave the kids in Norwell a safe place to play outside — in just 4 weeks. 

It was a warm and sunny day in August this year when Nancy O’Neil decided that enough was enough. It was high time that the Norwell children who attended the inside play space program at the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore’s Norwell shelter got the chance to play outdoors too.

But first she needed to find the resources to build a fence so they could play safely in the shelter’s outside play area.

Giving Norwell Kids a Safe Outdoor Play Space

O’Neil, a volunteer play activity leader for the Horizons for Homeless Children Play Space Program, knows the importance of outdoor play. She worked in high school and college-level athletics and health for more than three decades before becoming a consultant for athletic education and wellness.

“If there’s one thing that kids have in common, it’s energy. And lots of it!” says O’Neil. That’s why they need a safe place to play outdoors. “Even if you don’t have a place to call your own, you still want your kids to be safe,” she says.

So she reached out to Herb Newell, Executive Director of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore and his staff and volunteers for their assistance. Sharyn Burden, Assistant Program Director at the Norwell shelter became a key supporter, fielding calls and providing valuable insight. Another volunteer created a 2-page flyer to give to potential donors. Little did we imagine our Norwell kids would have their fence so quickly.

Persistence Pays Off — Quickly

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, project, AVO Fence, Weymouth, MA
Art Caron loads up fence panels for delivery to Norwell shelter.

It was O’Neil’s dogged determination to get the fence built ASAP that made all the difference. In fewer than 4 weeks after she started her effort:

  • Art Caron of AVO Fence & Supply in Plymouth, MA generously donated over 170 feet of fencing panels.
  • Atlantic Fence in Raynham, MA donated all of the posts.
  • O’Neil and a friend picked up and delivered the panels to the Norwell location. Caron  picked up and delivered the posts.
  • Enough cash donations were received to rent an auger and set aside money for maintenance.
  • Newell and O’Neil assembled a team of volunteers to get the fence installed.

On Sunday, September 18th Caron, his staff, and a few helpers set the corners and began the build. Then, on Saturday, September 24, a full crew of volunteers “dug in” to build the fence and make the outdoor play space for our Norwell kids a reality — in just 4 hours!

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, projectSouth Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, projectSouth Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, project

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell ChildrenSouth Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell ChildrenSouth Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children, fence, project

“We did it!” says O’Neil. “With the leadership of Art Caron at AVO Fence and the help of a tremendous team, we finished the fence!  And it is beautiful!  The youngsters will soon enjoy the out of doors during their play space time. YIPPEE!! HUGE thanks to all who contributed.”

In addition to O’Neil and Caron (“total project hero” says O’Neil), the volunteer construction crew included Marci Stoda, Paula Myers, Judy Katalina, Nancy Martens, Nancy Bilodeau, Herb Newell, and Kenny Dustin.

Still Needed: A Few Finishing Touches

South Shore, Shelter, volunteers, Norwell Kids, Norwell Children
The team that built the fence at the Norwell shelter in record time pose for a final photo. Front row (left to right): Marci Stoda, Nancy O’Neil, and Paula Myers. Back row (left to right): Judy Katalina, Art Caron (fence team leader from AVO fence). Nancy Martens, Nancy Bilodeau, Herb Newell, Kenny Dustin.

Of course, the work isn’t completely done, admits O’Neil. “We still have to fill in with a couple of gates for access and the hardware to go with them.” But Director Newell’s connection to Habitat for Humanity volunteers will soon make this happen, she says. The gates are scheduled for completion during the week of October 3.

Thank You!

To everyone mentioned above AND the many other generous donors whose time and money helped us make the fence a reality, we cannot say thank you enough! You have made a big difference for our Norwell kids and their parents. Thank you for your support in making a difference in children’s lives on the South Shore of Boston as a whole! We invite you to connect with us on Facebook.

Maybe fence building isn’t your thing? Don’t worry, we have many ways you can help, either by volunteering or donating. Which ever way you chose will make a great impact on our children in shelter.

Make Real Difference in Local Kids’ Lives

Here is your chance to make a real different in the lives of kids on the South Shore of Boston. You can help more than two dozen children grow strong, healthy, and stress-free. All it takes is your support for our effort — and the donation of money, materials, and/or skills — to help us build a strong, sturdy fence on one of our campus’ for Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.

Continue reading Make Real Difference in Local Kids’ Lives

Music in Harmony: Benefit for Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore

Friday, July 22, at 7:00 pm

Old Hymns, new music, contemporary, pianist, sharyn Burden, Lora Wooster

Join us as accomplished pianist Sharyn Burden and worship leader Lora Wooster hosts an evening of old hymns and new. There will be specials and joyful sing-a-longs as well as favorite hymns from the past. The event is free and open to the public. A love offering will be taken for the Home with Friends program of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore. This program provides hope and support to homeless families, as well as resources local churches ministering to these families.

St. Paul’s Church of the Nazarene
136 Summer Street
Duxbury, MA 02332

Key Club Polar Plunge March 13

Polar Plunge, Key Club, Duxbury, Rexhame beachTake the Key Club Polar Plunge on March 13. Get wet and wild this Sunday for a great cause!

Join Marshfield High School Key Club members, family and friends as they brave the icy waves of Rexhame beach, Marshfield, at 9 AM on March 13th 2016, and raise money for our Norwell shelter.

Your donation helps fund shelter renovations

Proceeds from the Plunge will help fund the Club’s “extreme makeover” of family shelter units at the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore’s Norwell facility.

“We are delighted to be working with the Marshfield High Key Club on an Extreme Makeover this spring,” says Herb Newell, Executive Director of Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore. “Michelle Herwono and her leadership team have done a phenomenal job planning and preparing to improve the living spaces for our guests. We look forward to working with them soon.”

Want to make a difference, without getting wet?

–Make a donation online via credit card at https://www.friendsofhomeless.org
–Sign up to be a volunteer or email Dorothy Newell. Volunteer Coordinator at info@friendsofhomeless.org.

What Key Club Does

Marshfield Key Club is a volunteer club for high school students sponsored by Kiwanis of Marshfield. Members help out at events in Marshfield and surrounding communities. Their major events include decorating and running the MHS Homecoming and helping Kiwanis sell Christmas trees at the Fairground. For more information visit the Marshfield Key Club site.

Helping Families in Transition

Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore helps homeless families by providing temporary shelter, furniture, education, and advocacy. We work with dozens of volunteers from local churches, businesses, community groups and individuals to help parents and children in transition. Our goals are to help these families.

  • Build stronger relationships
  • Secure education and employment opportunities
  • Find safe and affordable permanent housing
  • Work toward self-sufficiency to end the cycle of homelessness


FREE Hingham Concert Helps South Shore Homeless Families

ENC, Alumni Concert, A Capella, Valentine's Concert, benefit concertMark your calendar for next Thursday, February 25th at 8 pm. That is when the A Cappella and Alumni Choirs from Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) come to Hingham for a special Valentine’s benefit concert for Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.

The concert is sponsored by the Eastern Nazarene A Cappella Choir and hosted by the South Shore Baptist Church. Its Valentine-themed program will feature a variety of love songs, including classical, folk and contemporary arrangements. A free will offering will be taken during the concert, to benefit Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore. Donations also may be made online at www.friendsofthehomeless.org.

This is an event you do not want to miss! More than 60 members of ENC’s celebrated student and alumni choruses join together, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Shetler to create a lively and inspirational musical celebration of Valentine’s Day. The concert will be free of charge to all local residents. Proceeds are based on voluntary donations, and will benefit the programs of the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.

Benefit Concert Details

Here are the details…
Eastern Nazarene College A Cappella and Alumni Choirs
2016 Valentine’s Benefit Concert
Thursday, February 25, 2016, 8:00PM
South Shore Baptist Church
578 Main St
Hingham, MA 02043.

For more information on the concert, contact the Eastern Nazarene College’s Box Office at 617-745-3715 or visit ENC’s website.

ENC’s A Cappella Choir tours regularly in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. In addition to performing internationally, the choir has performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and at Boston’s historic Jordan Hall.

Sneak Preview

For a sneak preview of the treat you are in for when you attend click on the video below:


Baby Bundles: Deliver Supplies, Smiles for New Moms in Shelters

Baby bundles deliver so much joy! Bringing home a new baby is one of life’s most exciting events. But what if your “home” is in a shelter or motel?

infant, baby bundles, newborn

Thanks to the efforts of dozens of Baby Bundles’ donors and volunteers, the day a Mom and her newborn return to transitional housing may be a little brighter.

A big bin filled to the brim for Moms in small spaces

Newborn Baby Bundles gives new moms in transitional housing just about all of the things
they need for the first few weeks. Each Baby Bundle bin holds:

  • baby, Newborn diapers (up to 3 months)
  • Wipes and baby toiletries
  • Blankets, towels and washcloths
  • Sleep Sack
  • New baby onesies, outfits
  • Bibs, socks, hand mitts
  • Toy, book and pacifiers
  • Comfort shawl and toiletries for Mom

“We pack all of this into a single, large plastic bin, so each Mom also has a handy storage place when her living space is small,” says program director Susan Donnelly.

Diaper Drives and Baby Showers make Baby Bundles a success

Donnelly is one of the many energetic volunteers from St. Albert’s Parish in Weymouth. She works on Baby Bundles’ donations, collection, and communications. Volunteers make visits to other local churches, schools, and community organizations. They encourage these organizations to sponsor “baby showers” and diaper drives where items for newborns can be donated.


Who Has Participated in Baby Bundles So Far?

Groups who have sponsored these events have included: Church Hill United Methodist, Norwell; St. Albert the Great, St. Francis Xavier, Pilgrim and Old South Union churches in Weymouth; Resurrection Parish, Hingham; and the Colonial Village Knitting Club in Weymouth. And moreso, they have been very generous with donations.

“Their generosity has allowed us to deliver bundles to 16 families so far [as of this post], and we have another scheduled for mid-January,” says Betsy Clifford, pastoral associate at St. Albert – St. Francis Collaborative Parishes. Clifford, who has delivered several of the Baby Bundles herself, has seen the joy and hope the bundles give to new and expectant parents. “They are absolutely delighted to know someone cares,” she says.

To learn more about contributing to or volunteering for Baby Bundles, contact Susan Donnelly or email us and  someone will get your the information.

Norwell, Hanover Churches Partner with Local Shelter

Supper club promotes community relationships between volunteers, families in need
By Kaila Braley
, kbraley@wickedlocal.com
Posted Jan. 23, 2016 at 4:26 AM Scituate Mariner and Patriot Ledger

Tilynn Wakefield, of Hanover, was cooking dinner with five or six other moms at St. Helen’s church in Norwell, when she heard a little girl in the other room banging on the church’s piano.  I asked if she wanted to learn a song, so I taught her ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’” she said. “She kept going and going and asking, ‘Is this right?’ Once she got it, she ran around the room.”  Wakefield, a parishioner of St. Mary’s church in Hanover, over the past few months has been volunteering with a supper club that brings together volunteers from three local churches with families who are staying at a local homeless shelter, which is not specifically identified to protect the privacy of the people living there.

Norwell resident Noël Ashekin, a parishioner of United Church of Christ in Norwell, came up with the idea to start a monthly supper club with the local shelter after the church ran a capital campaign in order to increase their community outreach.  “I thought we could help beyond feeding them or providing clothes and furniture. I know families in poverty often face depression or isolation, so we thought it would be a good thing to do to cook and then sit and eat with them,” Ashekin said.

United Church of Christ funds the program, at $500 a month, and has invited volunteers from St. Mary’s in Hanover as well as St. Helen’s in Norwell, where about four to six volunteers cook and eat the food with anywhere from eight to 12 shelter families, Ashekin said. The church volunteers partner with Friends of the Homeless, the organization that runs shelters on the South Shore, to invite families.

Assistant Program Director for Friends of the Homeless, Sharyn Burden, said families living in shelters have access to private kitchens and are able to cook their own food, but the program offers families the opportunity to meet and spend time with church volunteers and foster relationships throughout the community.  “This program has been quite successful in bringing families together in the community, with the hopes of relationships developing that will make a difference in people’s lives,” Burden said. “It has been well received by the guests at the shelter with more than half of our families involved on the last Sunday of each month.”

Wakefield wanted to get involved with the program because she knew a family who has been living at the shelter. She said it has been wonderful for her and her family to get to know the families from the shelter.  “Some of them are coming from bad situations, but the kids wanted to play football with my son. They couldn’t wait to hang out with him,” she said. “My family sees how they live and what some of them have undergone.”

Burden said; “Building relationships in the community is valuable, and has included more Norwell groups, including a local Girl Scout troop that donated food for the most recent meal, and Norwell Farms, which has expressed interest in donating food to the program as well.  Cooking together with the families breaks down the boundaries between volunteers and recipients,” Ashekin said.  “It’s a great catalyst for community building and learning about different cultures.  Some of the families are from Haiti.  As the families cook together, they share stories about their lives, and learn about each other.  Some of the families staying at the shelter have taught the volunteers about different styles of cooking…  Food can be a great equalizer. As we’re sharing food, the line between giving and receiving is blurred. We’re just sitting with families and friends and eating together,” She added “Something magical happens while cooking—conversations start.”

To volunteer with the program, contact Noel Ashekin at nashekian@hotmail.com.