Dozens of volunteers from businesses and organizations across SouthCoast will gather in one place for one day this October, helping the region’s homeless residents connect with a better future.
New Bedford Connect, set for Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the downtown YMCA, will bring together dentists, veterans assistance, housing support, community volunteers, resources and services for area residents who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless or have a friend or family member in danger of losing shelter.
All groups who participate in the event will be raising awareness of the services they provide while assisting the city’s homeless in this extraordinary one-day outreach. Caregivers, volunteers and advocates from businesses, nonprofits and agencies will be at the event ready to provide direct services to homeless residents, free of charge.
Bus service will be available from locations throughout the city, bringing participants to the event at the YMCA, 25 South Water St. in New Bedford.
The goal of New Bedford Connect and its chief organizer, Rise Up for Homes, is to provide easy access to services and resources that support the transition of the city’s homeless – helping them get off the streets and/or shelters and into more permanent housing. The event is scheduled in mid-October to reach homeless residents in the weeks before harsh winter weather arrives.
Here’s how you can help:
• Provide food or materials: Organizers are looking for ready-to-eat or easy-to-prepare meals for the event. Upwards of 150 homeless residents are expected to attend, along with numerous volunteers. Items for both breakfast and lunch are needed. Breakfast items include coffee, donuts, bagels, pastries, muffins, ready-to-eat breakfast meals, juice boxes, fruit and other foods. Lunch items include sandwiches, soups, salad, fruit, hot meals, cookies and other dessert items, coffee, soft drinks and water. Napkins, and disposable or recyclable plates, cups and utensils would also be helpful.
• Consider a direct donation: Money will be used for transportation, food, supplies and other necessities for the event, as well as to provide vital services for homeless in New Bedford throughout the year. Donations can be made by mail, online at www.RiseUpForHomes.com, or by texting RISEUP to 50155. Make checks payable to: Rise Up For Homes / First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, ATTN: Leslie Poulin / 200 Mill Road, Suite 100 / Fairhaven, MA 02719
• Pitch in at the event: Volunteers will be needed to record data from homeless participants, as well as for set-up, general organization, and cleaning up after the event. One task will be to assist homeless residents in obtaining a photo ID from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. To volunteer contact: Leslie Poulin at First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, Fairhaven.
• Become an organizer: This is the third of what is hoped to become a successful annual event. At present, most of the planning, organization and fundraising is being conducted by a volunteer group of business leaders. Rise Up for Homes is seeking members for a permanent board to oversee the event in future years. If you’re interested, contact Leslie Poulin.
This event is possible through the support of local partners including First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, Bay Coast Bank, Southcoast Health Systems, United Way of Greater New Bedford, Bristol County Savings Bank and YMCA Southcoast.
For more information or questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit riseupforhomes.com.
Rev. David Lima
Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford