Monday, February 21, 2011

Cookie Central Visits Lazarus House

I met Dennis McCarthy from Lazarus House at a recent Friends Of Kevin networking event. Were it not for the shred of class I have, there would have been visions of me barreling on top of people to make my way across the crowded room to meet Dennis. You see, I knew two things: 
  1. I am passionate about fighting to end childhood hunger in America and have been looking for a way to get more involved locally.
  2. Dennis was representing Lazarus House, which, at the time, I understood to be a local food pantry. (Boy was I wrong!)
The funniest thing was, when I finally got the chance to speak with Dennis, we didn't really speak at all. He handed me a card and said to set up a tour. I am so incredibly happy I set up that tour! Until today, my understanding of Lazarus House was naive. I am floored by how vastly they impact our community and how progressive the programs they offer are.

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Our tour began at Lazarus House, a shelter located in the Arlinton District of Lawrence, MA. The house, opened in 1983, provides homeless families and individuals food, a bed and a roof over their heads. But the home doesn't stop there. They provide people with the resources to create a life for themselves, in fact they insist on it. The folks behind Lazarus House understand that good people land in unfortunate situations, but they also know that a hand out can only get someone so far...what people really need is a hand up. By providing the residents of the shelter with things like daycare, educational classes, job assistance, money management...the list really goes on and on...and on, they allow the residence to focus on something that will benefit them more than a simple handout, bulding a future. Curious what the success rate of building that future is? 92%

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Part of Lazarus House's programs is St. Martha's Food Pantry. Their goal?

" To provide food to anyone who is hungry and comes to our door. To eliminate hunger within our community so that people are better able to face their other daily challenges - sustaining housing, paying rent, pursuing jobs, and completing educations."
Here, people can come on Wednesdays and receive a bag containing up to 4 days worth of food. Bagged luches are also available. So, how many families does St. Martha's Pantry provide food to during an average week? As Dennis says, the number has gone up (as you can imagine in this economy) to approximately 600 families per week....a staggering number.

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Another food program offered by Lazarus House is Good Shephard Soup Kitchen. Monday through Friday between May-October and 7 days a week from November-April, a continental breakfast and hot lunch are served. This kitchen is open to the public and the food that is provided is obtained exclusively through donations!

You can also find a Lazarus House Soup Truck on Friday and Saturday nights handing out food, blankets, gloves and hats durning the months of January, February and March.

In all, Lazarus House's food prgrams help to feed approximately 8000 people a month...
again, staggering!

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My blog could very quickly become a novel with all the amazing things I learned today. What I can say for certain is that I look forward to volunteering for this organization. I look forward to participating in their events. And I hope that they continue to be the anchor in the lives of so many people in this community. If you live in my area (The Merrimack Valley) please, please, please set up a tour! This tour gave me such an honest grasp of what this organization does for so many people and how much their organization is really needed.

Thank you so, so very much for reading! ~ Michele :)

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Lazarus House Ministries
www.LazarusHouse.org
978-689-8575

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4 comments:

  1. Very moving blog. No one in this country should ever be hungry, and we all deserve a roof over our heads. Thank you for your great support of these causes.

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  2. Thanks Carolyn! We had the opportunity to cook dinner for the residents of Lazarus House, so expect an update blog...you should have seen the kids! So very cute :)

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  3. The first impression you had of Dennis McCarthy is the true Dennis McCarthy.....if you only knew the real one.

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  4. Anonymous,

    While I can't tell if this is a compliment or not, I do know that Lazarus House is an incredible organization and the cornerstone in the lives of so many people in our community. What I can say about Dennis is that he has introduced me to a world of people committed to fighting hunger that I never knew existed and for that I am beyond grateful.

    All the best,
    Michele Gorham

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