For many people on the South Shore the word “volunteering” is synonymous with Interfaith Social Services. Last year South Shore residents and employees from local businesses contributed over 22,360 hours of volunteer service at Interfaith. At a recent ceremony hosted by Atria Marina Place twenty of those volunteers were inducted into Interfaith’s Volunteer Hall of Fame.
Since 1947 Interfaith Social Services has served as a multiservice center for disadvantaged families and individuals from the South Shore. This nonreligious organization endeavors to strengthen family life and provide assistance by feeding, clothing and comforting their neighbors in need. Interfaith’s food pantry served over 18,000 people last year. Their volunteer run thrift shop sorted over 5,000 bags of clothing and household goods. They outfitted low income job seekers with professional clothing and prevented homelessness for hundreds of families All of this was accomplished because they have an army of volunteers helping to get it all done.
From answering telephones to stocking shelves Interfaith’s programs are staffed by over 90 volunteers who fulfill weekly assignments “We are very proud of our grassroots, community based service model,” said Interfaith’s executive director Rick Doane. “Interfaith has been serving the South Shore for 65 years. Over the past few years have experienced dramatic increases in demand for service due to the recession; because have the best volunteers in the world we have been able to keep up with the increased workload. Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization.”
Hundreds of additional volunteers from various community groups, houses of worship and local businesses also volunteer throughout the year. Some businesses like Arbella Insurance, State Street and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts regularly send groups of volunteers to assist within Interfaith’s various programs.
Recently Atria Marina Place in Quincy hosted Interfaith’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ. Over 100 volunteers turned out for an elegant dinner graciously provided by Atria Marina Place. “This is what a community does for each other,” said Atria’s spokesperson Nancy VanBenschoten. “Providing a dinner and refreshments is the least that we can do for Interfaith’s volunteers who give so much of their time to help so many people in our region.”
At the Appreciation Dinner Interfaith’s volunteer coordinator Paula Daniels inducted 20 individuals into the Matti Lang Volunteer Hall of Fame. This honor, named after one of the organization’s most dedicated volunteers, is bestowed upon those volunteers who have been serving within the organization regularly for at least one year. “Some of this year’s inductees volunteer 4 hours every week,” said Daniels, “some volunteer over 21. Regardless of the time that you give we are grateful for your service, and we couldn’t assist our thousands of clients without you.”
The following South Shore residents were inducted into the Matti Lang Volunteer Hall of Fame:
Brenda Coleman-Thomas, Caroline Cote, Christine Higgins, Cynthia Ryan, Donna White, Gail Wilson, Gale Rent, Gillian Fay, Heather Sargent, Janet Mullins, Jillian Berry, Jim Keenan, John O'Donnell, Joyce McMullen, Kathy Taylor, Kendra Mikami, Maureen Mills, Paula Malzone, Sandra Johnson, Sheila O'Malley and Susan Donnelly.
If you are interested in volunteering with Interfaith Social Services you can reach Interfaith’s volunteer coordinator Paula Daniels at 617-773-6203 ext. 28.