“The work of Emmaus Matters,” stressed Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College. “Homelessness hits closer to home than you realize.”
Glenn served as the Emcee for Emmaus’ 15th Annual “Paving the Road Home Breakfast” on Thursday, Oct. 5. More than 200 people attended the breakfast, held at the Hartleb Technology Center at Northern Essex Community College, and learned about what Emmaus does to help more than 3,000 adults and children each year who are facing homelessness.
“One in three community college students is hungry and food insecure,” Glenn said. “We have students who don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.”
Sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Credit Union, Emmaus’ annual breakfast brings together community leaders
from across the region who care deeply about fighting homelessness. Children and families in Emmaus program painted the artwork that adorned the walls and children in the Emmaus Explorers after school program decorated the mini pumpkins on the tables. Richard and Lucine Goudreault of Goudreault Farm in Plaistow, N.H., and their daughter and son-in-law Pam and Dr. Robert Perreault donated the floral centerpieces.
This year, Jane Banks, Assistant Undersecretary for the Division of Housing Stabilization at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development was the morning’s featured speaker. She spoke highly of Emmaus.
“If I loved closer, I’d take a job with this agency,” Banks said. “Emmaus is one of the lead agencies [in the state] in placing families out of shelter.”
Emmaus Executive Director Jeanine Murphy spoke of the struggles of those facing homelessness and that now is the time to help those in need.
“Here we stand, hand in hand, making a difference in the lives of those arriving at our door each night,” Murphy said. “The men, women and children needing solace from the elements, needing a hand up on their way out of poverty. This is the mission of Emmaus; because Everybody Matters!”
Last year alone, Murphy noted, that Emmaus placed 366 homeless families and individuals into their own apartments, something that could not have accomplished without the support of many loyal friends and donors.
Emmaus Board Member Raichelle Kallery presented the 5th Annual Community Hero Award to Fantini Bakery for its support of Emmaus for many years, both financially and through donated bread product.
“To the guests of Emmaus and those serving our guests, it is a much-needed staple,” said Kallery.
Emmaus also presented former State Rep. Brian Dempsey with the Community Builder Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than two-decade long service in the Massachusetts State House and as a friend to Emmaus.
“Throughout Chairman Dempsey’s tenure in the House of Representatives he never forgot those in need,” said Murphy. “Brian, thank you for all you have accomplished on behalf of people without a voice.”
Dempsey, received a standing ovation from the crowd.
“Emmaus is so much more than a shelter,” Dempsey said as he accepted the award, adding that Emmaus is “so well-respected at the state level” that other agencies look to Emmaus when seeking examples of how to work with impoverished populations.
A portion of the proceeds raised at this breakfast will benefit shelters in areas impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.