The holiday season at the Elizabeth Stone House began with our annual Thanksgiving dinner. Staff and board members served over 125 adults and children, which included current residents, past residents and members of our community groups. Dinner was provided by one of our Natixis charitable partners, Community Work Services. Adults and children shared what they were thankful for and it was a wonderful evening for all.
Then the calls for help for holiday gifts began to pour in, and we knew that this year was going to be daunting—and sometimes wondered if we would be able to meet the needs of so many! Requests came from community friends whom we have worked with for many years and from friends and family of residents, advocates, social workers, psychiatrists and therapists, as well as from Rosie’s Place, ABCD Head Start, a GED program, Boston Housing, AIDS Action Committee, welfare offices, a local WIC office and even the Salvation Army.
Fortunately, our requests for help were met with gifts from old friends like Kristen Bjork; the Needham Congregational Church (who brought their youth group for a visit); Emerson College and Northeastern University; NEAHMA; the Town of Brookline; Ropes & Gray (who provided winter coats for all our children); Frosty’s Friends (Boston Cares); Victoria’s Secret in Fanueil Hall; ARS (who generously sent a check for $2,500 and 55 Target gift cards); groups from the workplaces of board members Charleen Tyson and Gayla Langlois; and so many other individuals and local businesses who adopted one or more families for the holidays. We are overwhelmed by this generous outpouring of support that enabled us to meet the needs of so many families this year.
The total number of individuals we served is staggering. Last year, we served 538 people (154 adults and 384 children). We hoped that we could do the same this year, but as our reputation has grown, so has the holiday project. This year, we provided gifts for 868—619 children and 249 adults! As “elves” packed bags, our direct service staff called families to come pick up gifts, and we all watched in wonder as folks arrived to our tired, old blue building to pick up a bag of Christmas joy.
That’s what this holiday season is all about for the Stone House. It’s a chance to be part of a very special community in a very special city; a chance to share, make new friends, see old friends and revel in the fact that during this one time of year, we can put aside our individual problems and come together to create magic. I’m proud of all that we have done this season. It would not have been possible without such generous community support.
From our Stone House to yours, best wishes for healthy, happy New Year!
Nancy Owens Hess
Elizabeth Stone House