For over two months the staff and individuals supported by Community Strategies for Massachusetts worked to organize a drive to provide people living in a Worcester homeless shelter gift items for the holidays.  The project was led by Janet Kachadoorian, Assistant Department Director of CSMA. In thanking all who assisted in the project, Kachadoorian wrote:

The project took a lot of time and without the help of volunteers and generous people, this would not have ended as well as it did. Two months of collecting items, a ton of shopping, endless hours of sorting, volunteers making tags, volunteers packing baskets, and more volunteers  wrapping baskets, adding ribbons and attaching poems paid off.

A convoy of vehicles lined up at the back door of Phoenix Park on 12-23-14 to be loaded to the roofs with baskets.  Once we arrived in Worcester we were greeted by some very caring staff from the shelter.  They came out to our cars with dollies to help us bring everything inside.  As we made our way through the shelter with dollies full of gifts, the mood went from somber to excited.

As we unloaded the 105 baskets off the dollies that were filled with towels, facecloths, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, female products, socks, gloves, scarves and hats, we could see people watching us with smiles on their faces.

As each person was handed a basket you could see, feel and hear how appreciative they were.  The smiles were priceless as each person received a basket.  As one person walked away she said “I’m going to open mine on Christmas so I have something to open” which made us sad and yet we were all smiling.

After each person was given a basket we started to gather our coats and make our way through the shelter.  All of the people in the shelter started waving, shaking our hands and shouting thank you, Merry Christmas and GOD bless!!!!!  All of these waves, handshakes and kind words were for all of us who worked together and contributed to this project.  Thank you so much for everything you did, no matter how big or small.  Each donation and every second of time volunteered was very much appreciated.