Abby’s House was founded in 1976 by a group of volunteers, who worked hard to establish one of the 1st homeless shelters in the US. Thirty-four years later, we have been able to help more than 11,000 women, mothers and children reclaim and rebuild their lives. Without our volunteers, the transformative work we do here would not be possible.
Our volunteers come from all walks of life, volunteer on their own or as part of a group, and for different reasons. Their length of stay varies, as well. Some volunteer for one day, others work on a regular basis, and some stay with us for years— our longest-standing volunteer just celebrated her 34th year with us! Our volunteers vary in age (18-90!), as well. Some are retirees, others are in the workforce, while others are in college. Individual volunteers serve as receptionists, work in the thrift shop, provide overnight coverage at the shelter, and help prepare and serve meals. Corporate and community groups come to Abby’s House to prepare and serve meals and help with larger projects.
The economic impact of the volunteers at Abby’s House cannot be overlooked. At our emergency shelter, volunteers provide overnight coverage 300 nights/year, contributing nearly 4,000 volunteer hours. If Abby’s had to hire staff to provide this coverage, it would cost us an additional $70,000! If we had to hire kitchen staff, it would cost an additional $40,000. Thrift store volunteers provide another $139,000 worth of services, while our receptionists save the organization nearly $29,000. Beyond the invaluable work they do, our volunteers save the organization more than $275,000 each year!
There are also volunteers working outside Abby’s House to support the organization. Some groups prepare and deliver meals, or hold special fundraising events and donate all or a portion of the proceeds to Abby’s House. Two recent examples of this invaluable support are HipHipHerRace – a benefit 5K – and Women in Wine.
HipHipHerRace was organized by several area business women: Sue Manero of Susan Manero & Associates Insurance, Susan Lauring of the Three Rivers Building, and Mothers & Company – all in West Boylston – and Peg Dix of O’Brien & Gibbons Insurance Center in Worcester. The event, held on October 23, was a huge success! More than 150 runners and walkers participated in the event, which raised more than $8,500 for Abby’s House!
In its seventh year, Women in Wine is an annual event organized by a group of Worcester-area women who have turned their love of wine and fine food into a vehicle for raising funds to support the women served by Abby’s House. Headed by cofounders Gloria Giustino Dilendik and Christine Zecker, the 2010 committee was comprised of: Maryellen Anderson, Edla Ann Bloom, Tracey Borg, Ellyn Brigham, Paula Cobb, Ann Crowley, Laura Clemence-Shea, Andrea Figueroa, Jackie Ford, Angela Genovese, Amanda Graves, Gaye Groleau, Cheryl Macera, and Beverly Presley. To date, for Abby’s House!
Whether our volunteers have worked for one day or many years – helping run the operation at Abby’s House or raising funds to support what we do – they play an invaluable role in helping us fulfill our mission. Since 1976, Abby’s House has served more than 11,000 women and children from across Central MA. Without the support of our volunteers, this would not have been possible!