WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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The kits are given to youngsters at health education sessions to support what they've just learned. "For example, kids are taught the importance of brushing their teeth and washing their hands, and then they receive packs of toothbrushes, paste, soap, and shampoo," Williams states. "It really encourages their long-term health and well-being." Williams relates a story about a low-income school in New York that was recently aided by Hope and Comfort generosity. "A teacher reached out to us to say that her student was having a tough time; she was really struggling and she has a single father who wasn't provid- ing his daughter with the basics," she says. "The girl wasn't really put together and she had an odor. She isolated herself from her class and teachers, and her schoolwork was failing." The perceptive teacher formed a weekly lunch group for this student, and other girls in a similar situation. "The group is called 'Girl Talk,' and the teacher handed out toiletry kits. The original girl who the teacher was concerned with now comes to school without an odor anymore, and her schoolwork is improved," Williams enthuses. When the teacher wrote her original letter of request to Hope and Comfort, she penned: "Will these students skip the prom and drop out of school because they're embarrassed?" "So, it's great to hear that you can positively affect someone by an item as simple as the bar of soap we donated," pronounces Williams. A Clean Scrub While Hope and Comfort operates at a grassroots level in the MetroWest community, the need for toiletries extends far beyond the area. And while many of the requests the organization receives are unexpected, Hope and Comfort has risen to the occasion. "About 99 percent of the unsolicited requests we get are from peo- ple finding us online," Feingold says. "We receive about five unique requests a week." At the end of each month, he and Williams review the incoming appeals and choose one for contributions. The impact of the hygiene kits has been felt far and wide. "A veterans' association in Florida was helping homeless vets find permanent housing, and they held a workshop," says Williams. "That was an opportunity for us to contribute toiletry packages to them." Hope and Comfort also recently donated toiletry bundles, by request, to a school in Georgia that educates low-income students with special needs. The team behind Hope and Comfort also plans to expand volun- teer opportunities for local families who wish to help. "We recently had a sorting and packing day at our warehouse in Newton, where we took items out of boxes, and organized them into hygiene kits," Feingold says. "These are truly satisfying, hands-on events for kids and adults alike." The team of volunteers packed a whopping 350 kits for delivery to the Boys & Girls Club and the Boston Public Schools, each containing the mainstays of soap, shampoo, tooth- brushes, and deodorant. Corporate and community groups have whole-heartedly embraced the cause. Ernst & Young, Wellesley and Weston real estate firm Benoit good works "truly satisfying, hands-on events" 160 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 5 Volunteers of all ages pack toiletry kits to be delivered to those in need

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