Helping on the Local Level ~ Note From the Director of Ipswich Caring

This month’s DeClutter the Holidays For Good event has several target organizations we will be donating through… One stands out as being super local, right here in good old (and I do mean OLD) Ipswich, Massachusetts, home of the fried clam (I think Essex makes the same claim) and definitely home to the most First Period houses (50+) in the country… And, home of Ipswich Caring and lots of caring people.

Ipswich Caring strives to make Christmas brighter and happier for Ipswich children in need by providing toys, clothing and food for this holiday. They’ve got a brand new website you can check out by clicking here or read on for more details including a letter from Ipswich Caring Director Sheila Taylor…

From the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce website:

Ipswich Caring is a non-profit, completely volunteer-driven organization whose mission it is to give assistance to needy Ipswich families at Christmas by providing their children with gifts of clothing and toys. There is also a strong elderly component to the program where senior citizens are visited by volunteers who bring a small gift.

Ipswich Caring fully depends upon the support of the community both for volunteers and financial donations. Volunteers are used in many areas depending on availability and interest of the volunteer. The program starts in mid-October and finishes in mid-December. The community has always been very supportive of the program. Financial donations can be mailed or brought directly to the First National Bank. Some local businesses have also helped out by “sponsoring” a family. The employees shop for a specific family and provide all the gifts.

I’ve known Ipswich Caring’s Director Sheila Taylor from the time we were fellow grammar school mothers. When I think of Sheila, I can only picture her smiling, a very kind and positive person, indeed. Now that the kids are older, I don’t cross paths with Sheila as much, par for the course and something that Time Well Spent will remedy as folks can reconnect on projects of shared interest, across many topics, as driven by the needs and interests of the community… So, I thought I’d let Sheila’s words speak for themselves with my emphasis added to highlight their areas of need…

[Yes] I am the contact person for Ipswich Caring.  We are in the thick of our holiday season and currently have 81 families enrolled this year.  We usually add another ten families before we are done.  One more family over what we currently have will be an all-time record!  No surprise due to this economy, I suppose.

There could possibly be some items that Ipswich Caring could use through your de-clutter event.  Anything we give to the families must be new, but we could use ribbon and cardstock colored paper for our ornaments that volunteers make.  If you receive gift wrap or gift bags that can be used for gifting purposes, we could use that, too. 

There are so many great organizations around, of which you have become aware, that the possibilities are endless.  One local organization that services kids is called Cornerstone.  There are a residential facility for mostly elementary and middle school children.  Many of these kids have no family or a very dysfunctional family.  They could use craft items, non-violent toys, sporting goods, blankets, clothes, etc.  If you would like the contact information for Cornerstone, let me know and I will get it to you. 

Although this would not be a part of your de-clutter event, what Ipswich Caring currently needs are two things:  volunteers to visit senior citizens aged 80+ in Ipswich to deliver a small bread, and financial donations to support our record-breaking year.  If you can spread the word on those fronts, that would be great, too.

Thanks for thinking of Ipswich Caring!  Good luck with all of your wonderful efforts.

Sheila

Cornerstone sounds like a really worthwhile place. Gosh, it can be tough enough being a kid these days, any days, but when one takes the time to imagine what it must be like to navigate the teen years without the support of a strong family, the picture sounds truly bleak and the kids come into focus as the young victims in these scenarios. The folks who choose to work at helping to give these kids a chance, structure, security, a sense of self worth, these people are truly heroes in my book. I’m instantly reminded of More Than Word and their good work with at-risk teens, as well. I will be sure to put Cornerstone on my list of organizations to get to know better and have asked Sheila to go ahead and provide that contact information she offered. I will also make a point to check that they are aware of the wonderful service Cradles to Crayons provides with regard to meeting some of the clothing and material needs for the kids at Cornerstone. Keep an eye out and we’ll see about a drive on their behalf after the new year if they still have unmet needs that our collective decluttering could help serve.

Also, if anyone local is interested in helping with deliveries to the elders of a holiday treat or in making a financial contribution, you may contact Sheila at kstaylorATverizonDOTnet (remember, this is the way to post email addresses in a way that they can’t be nabbed by the internet gremlins! just use your @ and . as usual in your email address line).

This is a great time to direct my readers to a page dedicated to local organizations doing good work on behalf of those in need right here on the North Shore of Boston. The page also highlights the wonderful online tool that is already making great strides in bringing together volunteers with those in need. It’s called VolunteerMatch.org and I encourage all that haven’t had the chance to check it out yet to do so. I blogged about it way back when… It’s another example of an organization interested in making the process of helping others as efficient as possible, win, win, win…

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