The virtual All The Way Home gala was a success!

The virtual All The Way Home gala was a success!

Last night at our annual All The Way Home gala we were able to gather virtually and reflect on the resiliency and strength of St. Francis House this past year.

We’re thrilled to announce that, thanks to your support, we have raised $615,000 in critical funding for the life-saving programs and services of St. Francis House. In addition to celebrating the steadfast support of our mission, we honored three local leaders who went above and beyond through the global pandemic in order to support the most vulnerable in the City of Boston. Please join us in congratulating our honorees one more time:

Corporate Honoree
Liberty Mutual Insurance and David H. Long

Non-profit Honoree
Boston Health Care for the Homeless and Dr. Denise De Las Nueces

Civic Honoree
Sheila Dillon, Department of Neighborhood Development, City of Boston

These are unprecedented times, but we’ve accomplished so much since the outbreak of COVID-19, including a remarkable turnout for our virtual gala. We had attendees from different states and of all ages logging on to join us in commemoration, in addition to raising our most critical funding to ensure our doors not only remain open but a welcoming refuge to those in need.

Every dollar raised at All The Way Home helps St. Francis House provide basic, rehabilitative, and housing services to more than 500 individuals every day of the year. Rain, shine or snow. No questions asked.

Thank you to our 2020 All The Way Home Sponsors:

Benefactor Sponsors

Kirsten and Joe Almeida
Beacon Capital Partners

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
EM Duggan
Al and Diane Kaneb
Judith Malone and Stephen Kidder
Maloney Properties, Inc.
Jack Murphy – Citizens Bank
Bob and Pat O’Neill
Rasky Partners, Inc.
Red Star Construction
State Street Corporation
Jean Tempel
Webster Bank

Friend Sponsors

Stephen Campbell and Sheila Zarba-Campbell
Gilbane Building Company
Tim and Kathy Egan
Jim and Beth Frates
Rick and Kathy Hughto
Rockland Trust – Blue Hills Charitable Foundation
Michael and Jennifer Sexton
MP Boston
Susan L. Sgroi
Vincent and Wendy Spiziri
Tim and Carolyn Nolan
Tufts Health Plan Foundation

St Francis House Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month

St Francis House today announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
This year’s theme is “Increasing Access and Opportunity” Reflecting that, throughout the month, St Francis House has been engaging in a variety of activities to educate employees and guests on disability employment issues and its commitment to inclusive work culture. These efforts include the distribution of educational materials, informational sessions, and the continued work of our Workforce Development Department’s efforts to increase access to income maximization through asset development and vocational rehabilitation counseling.
“St Francis House is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said President and CEO Karen LaFrazia. “We want to spread the important message that we value everyone, including individuals with disabilities. “
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting

October 21 Marks First Anniversary for Recovery Support Center!

A message from Recovery Support Center Program Director Efrain Lozada: 

I want to take a moment and send my deep appreciation for all of the staff at St. Francis House, and to our community for the support you’ve given the Recovery Support Center since we have opened.

October 21st will mark the 1-year anniversary of the Center, and it’s fair to say that we have accomplished something that I can only call a miracle. An extraordinary miracle because every day that I walk into the Center and see familiar faces, the faces of our members who have come here once with so much pain and despair…  Now, they have a light in their eyes. That is nothing short of a miracle.

My vision for the Center was always big, but to be honest, it’s the members that have made it larger than life, they’re the ones who made this space into the harmonious refuge you see today. This past year, we:

    • Established a 5-person membership committee that meets weekly to bridge a connection between staff and members of the Center,
    • Implemented several weekly support groups including an all-recovery meeting that focuses on different recovery pathways, a men’s support group, and a women’s support group.
    • Started a morning check-in with announcements, resource information, and space where individuals can talk about their night and start the morning on a good note,
    • And opened a Women’s Only Recovery Lounge.

There have been hurdles to jump and frustrations to deal with, especially when we were hit with COVID-19 only a few months after opening, but we made it — and it would not have been possible to do without the help, love, and support of our community.

Today, just a few days short of our 1-year anniversary, the Center stands on a solid foundation built with determination, tenacity, compassion, and the desire to recover from addiction and homelessness. We feel honored to be a part of St. Francis House, surrounded by many amazing programs and staff who are doing great work — connecting people in need with whatever they need.

Thank you for your support this past year, and for the hope and faith, you give the members of the Recovery Support Center as part of the St. Francis House community.

My Story: Chair of the SFH Board, Timothy S. Egan

Timothy S. Egan, Chair of the Board Retired Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax Advisor

I first got involved in the mid-1990s when a client and St. Francis House Board member recommended me for a Board position. I was excited to get involved as I learned about the mission of St. Francis House and the many guests it serves.  My Jesuit education at The College of Holy Cross instilled in me the mantra “Men and Women for Others”.

During my time at St. Francis House, I have seen the organization change the lives of many people in need.  Whether providing basic services like food and clothing to job training, mental health services, housing, and healthcare, St. Francis House is there to meet our guest’s needs. Having an impact and supporting the mission of St. Francis House has been very fulfilling, especially looking towards the future as we continue to see a great need for our most critical services.   

Operation Warm Helps St. Francis House Prepare for Winter with Hundreds of Coats

The nights are getting cooler and there’s often a nip in the morning air. Most of us are probably thinking about getting our winter clothing out of storage! For many of our guests, that’s not an option. 

When someone is homeless, there’s no place to store your personal items, so saving winter clothing to use it from one year to the next is an impossibility. That means that come late fall, our guests look to us to supply them with winter clothing – especially a good, warm coat.

Organizations like Operation Warm understand that a coat can quite literally be the difference between life and death. Operation Warm is a national nonprofit that manufactures brand-new, high-quality coats for children in need, and this winter, they’ve extended their compassionate response to include our guests. 

Pictured: Guest Services Manager Judy Coleman shows off one of the new women’s coats

St. Francis House is thrilled to send a gigantic THANK YOU to Operation Warm for the donation of 750 brand-new warm, winter coats in many different sizes for the vulnerable individuals who rely on St. Francis House this season.

This year, good winter coats are more critical than they’ve ever been. Thank you Operation Warm, because of you we know that we’ll be able to keep our guests safe and warm this coming winter.

Volunteer of the Month: Michael Beshara

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” – Fred Rogers

At St. Francis House, we have many volunteers who are generous with their time and efforts, many who have braved the coronavirus to ensure our guests are served a home-cooked meal every day of the week. Our volunteers are our heroes. We wouldn’t be able to serve the individuals of Boston without these compassionate, caring, and hardworking people.

For October, our Volunteer of the Month is Michael Beshara! Michael has been volunteering with St. Francis House for 6 years, working mostly in our Resource Center one-on-one with individuals in need, connecting guests with access to computers, ID cards, showers, and more. During the coronavirus pandemic, Michael has been dedicated to our mission, serving and preparing in our kitchen whenever possible. Thank you for your commitment and care to our guests, Michael!

We had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Michael about his experiences at St. Francis House:

SFH: First, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?  

Michael: I have been interested in some form of volunteerism for the underprivileged since my college days. I have spent most of my adult life in Boston and wanted to contribute to this city. I have had a pretty extensive and varied work career starting with juvenile boys who were wards of the state under the old Department of Youth Services system. We set up community-based residences once the detention homes closed where I lived and worked with the boys in the 1970’s.

After graduating college I worked for the Department of Corrections as a correctional counselor at the state prison facilities. Along the way I went to be head of case management for a contract agency working with recently released male inmates. I then took a long hiatus from this work for years and went to work for Raytheon in engineering support. I needed a break for what I thought would be a few years and ended up twenty five! During this time I still did volunteer work in the Boston area among the homeless and ended up being hired to set up a Department of Mental Health house for mentally-ill homeless men and women. Once this was off the ground for a couple of years, I decided to retire and give my time to volunteering.

SFH: Why do you choose to volunteer?

Michael: There are many reasons for my volunteering. Firstly, I fulfill my own sense of spirituality in doing this work. I do not subscribe to a particular creed except that as part of the human race I feel we are called to serve those in greatest need. As I saw Boston become more and more affluent and so many cast aside I thought I would concentrate on this city and its most vulnerable.

SFH: What made you choose St. Francis House, Boston? 

Michael: I chose St. Francis because it fit perfectly with the ideals I just listed above. When I met with the first Volunteer Coordinator around six years ago I gave her my background and told her I would like a position where I could have direct guest contact. She recommended me for the Resource Center. I was among the first to do computer intake of all guests and equip them with membership cards until that position went to the counseling services. I was then moved to the front desk of the Center where I remained until COVID-19. For now, I do some volunteering in the kitchen until that time comes when I am able to return to the Resource Center.

SFH: Is there a moment or memory that stands out from your time here?

Michael: This is a hard question to answer because every day that I am here there are opportunities to help in so many ways and see how just small things, like find directions for someone, offer a shower, help with computers etc. or simply listen to their daily struggles just to survive, mean to them. I do all I can to help or refer them to the best resource. One observation I have made over the years is how many young people now use our services. It is a sign of the times and the desperate conditions people find themselves in earlier and earlier.

SFH: Do you have any advice for individuals who are considering volunteering? 

Michael: I think this work in general really requires an open heart and genuine concern, without judgment, to those we serve. It is not a job where someone would just want to pass time, in my opinion. It has its difficult moments but the rewards are great!

SFH: Anything else you’d like to include regarding your time at SFH?

Michael: Putting in the years here has been among the most rewarding things I have done. I work with amazing people. A special shout out to the security staff who work so hard in constant direct contact with the guests and sometimes at the most difficult times. They are incredible.

Other than that I have made so many friendships with the guests that I even see on the street and subway and continue to be there for them. It’s a great way to give a little back in a hurting world.

Partnering for a Smoother Ride

As you can imagine, the development of the MBTA’s next-generation fare system is a complex endeavor. When completed, the T’s Fare Transformation project will make it easier to pay for those daily rides we all take. One card (or one smartphone app) to cover all transportation modes – rapid transit, train, bus, boat! Those of us who use multi-modes to get around will be especially thankful when the new system is implemented.

What’s this got to do with St. Francis House? We’re glad you asked!

First, Boston AFC 2.0 OpCo LLC, the entity created to finance, design, implement, and operate this massive project for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), was looking for a local nonprofit they could partner with, and they chose St. Francis House (SFH). In addition to the generous support from Boston AFC, we received a number of donations from other individuals and entities involved in this project!

So many, many thanks to Boston AFC 2.0 OpCo LLC. To John Laing, an infrastructure project investor that is a 90% shareholder of Boston AFC. To INTECH Risk Management, which was also involved in this project as an insurance advisor. And to attorneys Tara Mackay and Michael Pikiel, whose law firms advised on this program.

Our relationship with the MBTA was instrumental in securing these donations.

Not surprisingly, few of our guests have access to cars, so public transportation is critical. Many of our guests rely on the T to get them to and from work, shelter, housing appointments, medical appointments, legal appointments…

Each month, SFH buys nearly a thousand single-ride T-passes that we provide to our guests to get to their appointments. Students participating in our workforce development programs receive T passes so that they can get to and from classes and job interviews. Our case managers also support our senior guests and those with disabilities by helping them obtain discounted T passes.

Our partners at the MBTA are also key allies in our efforts to identify and reach out to people in need in our community.  SFH and Transit Police are both long-time members of the Area A Task Force, a collaboration of nonprofit, government, and law enforcement agencies that meets weekly to discuss the needs of homeless individuals in our downtown Boston neighborhood. One example of what the Task Force does: representatives from agencies will identify an individual who has been sleeping on the streets or in bus shelters, and displays signs of mental illness. The Task Force will work together to develop a plan to approach the individual to offer services and identify the best agency to do so.

It’s no wonder we’re thankful for the MBTA, and are looking forward to the completion of the new fare system.