“New socks are incredibly essential for homeless men and women and are always something that we are in need of here at Pine Street Inn.” – Melissa Cording, Director of Development.
The Pine Street Inn is a breathtaking establishment, located in Boston’s South End, in the former Boston Fire Department Headquarters. Started back in 1969, and built on the hopes of one man with 50 beds for women off the streets, the Pine Street Inn (PSI) is now a 670 bed organization with three locations. PSI in collaboration with HopeFound, formely Friends of Shattuck Shelter, and located in Jamaica Plain, now delivers a comprehensive and coordinated range of services to 1,600 homeless men and women.
The wide range of services that PSI generously offers includes everything from temporary to permanent housing, job training and placement, recovery services, street outreach teams, and advocacy. They even run an in-house catering company, iCater, which is run by selected individuals from PSI program.
On February 26th, Parker Burr, founder of FEAT, and I dropped off 900+ new blank FEAT socks to PSI. The Vice President, Heidi Daniels, graciously offered to take us on a tour of the facility. But before we even had the chance to enter the facility, a man wearing tattered clothing greeted us. He saw the bundle of socks in my arms and sweetly asked if he could take a pair for him and his girlfriend. With the intended purpose of our visit being a visual learning experience, this came as an eye opening realization that we were providing more than we could have hoped. Now it was personal for us.
Once inside the building, the feeling of community was abundant. People at the front desk warmly greeted us. Participants of the program walking by waved and smiled, and the security guards took the time to show us through the front hallway. Our first stop was quick, and we saw the in-house medical staff and Stabilization Program. We went on to see the dorm-type facilities, which hold over 500 guests nightly. They stressed the importance of clean blankets and towels, and mentioned that their enormous washer and dryers, on which they had relied for years, had died. With loads of fundraising they were able to purchase new machines, and they had to use cranes to bring them in through the windows of the five-story building.
We saw the kitchens and dining areas and met a few of the 500-person staff that makes PSI a fully functioning operation. They have done more than you can imagine, making the homeless people of Boston feel like they have a secure refuge. In addition to this large facility, they have a sister location in Jamaica Plain and have permanent housing in and around the city for families to get back on their feet. They also have Outreach teams, which send out volunteers in vans with goods, such as socks, to help keep people comfortable during the colder days. We are both humbled to be able to give the smallest comforts to deserving folks.
If you can, please make donations to PSI at, http://www.pinestreetinn.org/donate
-Bianca, Spreading Smiles