Southborough woman aids homeless families in transition
By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Volunteering really does make a difference. For Dru Lindgren, her involvement with Friends of Families in Transition has not only helped homeless families who are temporarily housed in hotels, but has helped to enrich her life and that of her family. She has recently become the Marlborough coordinator for the organization.
Julie Stanwood founded Friends of Families in Transition in 2011.
“Julie saw a need that wasn's being filled,” Lindgren explained. “The state places families in these hotels because there is no shelter space left. She saw families move in to these hotels with one bag of possessions. They often don's have food immediately and most do not have transportation. This organization is a great support and is implemented in a supportive and compassionate manner.”
After hearing about families in need from a neighbor who was collecting clothing, furniture, and toiletries, Lindgren jumped in.
“Families were not being placed in Marlborough until recently,” she said. “We currently have 35 families living at the Best Western. This has all happened within the last 30 days.”
A resident of Southborough, Lindgren has brought the program to both the Pilgrim Congregational Church and St. Mark's Episcopal Church in her hometown. Each week, she makes sure to get the word out as to what donations are needed, collecting them, and distributing them.
“We are responsible now for the Marlborough, Shrewsbury, and Northborough hotels. We are trying to broaden our reach to encompass other areas that we recognize are in need. The Marlborough effort has just started,” Lindgren said.
The organization provides not only essentials like donated food and clothing, but also organizes activities, such as the Holiday Party Dec. 20. There are scheduled parties for all of the area families staying in hotels in other areas, including Framingham, Shrewsbury, and Northborough.
“The Hopkinton Country club donated gift bags filled with personal care items. St. Mark's Episcopal Church donated their November plate money that was collected and put all of it toward outreach. With that money we purchased $30 Hannaford gift cards for each family. Pizza Hut also donated gift cards for pizza and Algonquin Regional High School students got gift cards for all of the teens. All of these went inside each gift bag,” Lindgren said.
Friends of Families in Transition volunteers also coordinates transportation to appointments and trips to the grocery store. In addition, trips are organized to St. Anne's in Shrewsbury and the United Way in Marlborough for donated clothing and other essentials.
Lindgren hopes her philanthropy will be passed on to her three children.
“By volunteering and giving back to the community, I try to set an example for my children to follow,” she said.
The success of Friends of Families in Transition depends on donations and volunteers. There are many things at this time that are needed, including diapers, wipes, and feminine and dental care items. Volunteers are also needed to collect and distribute these collected items.
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