WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2015-2016

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.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/596643

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Page 153 of 211

152 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 5 / 2 0 1 6 the average age of someone who is homeless in Massachusetts is eight years old," said Judy Mongiardo, Network Coordinator for Family Promise Metrowest (FPM). From 2007 to 2014, the number of homeless families in the state increased by 94 percent, from 2,468 families to 4,781, according to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. "It's one thing to hear these statistics," Mongiardo said, "it's quite another to share a meal or prepare a place to sleep for one of these children night after night." And that's exactly what the nonprofit FPM has been doing in Wellesley and surrounding communi- ties since it served its first homeless family in 2008. A cooperative, interfaith partnership, FPM offers help and hope to families with children who are homeless — referred to as "guests"— by providing safe, transitional shelter, meals, and supportive case management as they seek permanent housing. The one-on-one dynamic of cooking and sharing a meal, or helping a child with homework, can help transform the perception of family homelessness as one of overwhelming, but anonymous, proportions, to one with the very tangible goal of helping individual families — who have names, faces, smiles, laughter, and dreams — to find permanent housing within our communities. Mongiardo volunteered for the program back in New Jersey, where it was started by Karen Olson in the 1980s. Olson had noticed the growing number of parents working full-time at minimum wage jobs who were unable to afford the rising rents in the area. A disruption C O U R T E S Y O F F A M I L Y P R O M I S E M E T R O W E S T volunteering community service helping out doing our part contributions neighbor to neighbor philanthropy Family Promise Metrowest B E T S Y L AW S O N writer good works "

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