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WINTER 2012 A Place for Everyone Priscilla’s Story From Our Executive Director The Chilling Costs of Winter Q & A with Volunteer Deb Pasculano Funny Women...Serious Business Ways to Give

Priscilla’s Story Priscilla is a single mother who lives with her 12-year old daughter in a modest, yet comfortable apartment in Boston. She works two jobs to pay her bills. It is tiring, but she is thankful for the work, remembering how it was not so long ago. In 2008 Priscilla lost her job and her car and could not afford to pay her rent. With nowhere to turn, she and her daughter found themselves homeless. She turned to Rosie’s Place for assistance with meals and met with our advocates to get back on her feet. She and her daughter lived in family shelters until 2011 when she was approved for Section 8 housing. When she moved into her apartment, Rosie’s Place provided Priscilla with furniture, making sure she had all of the comforts of home. She and her daughter moved into their new home shortly before Christmas. Priscilla wanted to make the holiday special for her daughter, but could barely make ends meet and had no money for toys. She again turned to Rosie’s Place. Priscilla “shopped” at the Rosie’s Place Toy Store for her daughter’s Christmas gifts. She was able to select gifts that she knew her daughter would love and was excited to put the presents under the tree for Christmas morning. That Christmas was the best Priscilla and her daughter ever had. Priscilla is very proud of how far she has come. She refers others to Rosie’s Place telling them that they can change their situation if they have hope and if they believe in themselves.

A Place for Everyone: Holidays at Rosie’s Place For some, holidays mean a special meal. Others think of decorating the house, singing songs and welcoming friends and family. And for some, the holidays are all about the twinkle in a child’s eye when he opens that special gift. At Rosie’s Place, the holidays are all of these things and more. According to Ruth McDonough, Dining Room Manager, “Our guests want the same things that we do. And we try our best to give it to them. We want to make sure everyone enjoys the holidays. Everyone should have a roof over their heads—good food in their bellies—and be among friends. No one should be alone on the holidays.” On Thanksgiving and Christmas, our Dining Room is open all day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to more than 350 women and children. Decorated for the season, the Dining Room fills with music, conversation and laughter. Staff spend days cooking more than 12 turkeys and all the fixings and a crew of more than 40 volunteers assist in serving meals. Each year, the women delight in the day’s special menu. Lady, a guest who has taken part in several holiday celebrations, described them this way, “The food is exceptionally good. Everyone looks forward to it. By dinner we’re all stuffed but we make room! People are up and dancing—a good time is had by all.” Over the holidays, the 20 women staying in Rosie’s Place’s Overnight Shelter are given extensions, ensuring that they are safe, warm and in good company during these days that can be so daunting when spent alone. Debbie Conway, Manager of our Overnight Shelter said, “Holidays are really hard for our guests who don’t have a place to go or don’t have family to spend it with. We try to make it like a home up here. We get a tree. We decorate. We make it festive! The guests really look forward to the food, the activities and the little gifts we give them.”

“Our guests want the same things that we do. And we try our best to give it to them. We want to make sure everyone enjoys the holidays. Everyone should have a roof over their heads—good food in their bellies—and be among friends. No one should be alone on the holidays.” For poor and homeless mothers—the holidays are often another reminder of what they can’t afford to give their children. That’s where Rosie’s Place can help. Every December, 150 mothers come and shop in our Toy Store. Here, guests don’t receive pre-packaged and prewrapped gifts chosen by someone who has never met their child. Instead, mothers enjoy finding the gift that their child has been asking for all year or discovering a puzzle, toy or kit that they know he or she will love. Erin Miller, our Director of Advocacy, says that mothers really appreciate this very rare opportunity to shop for their children. “The Toy Store gives guests a sense of normalcy. It lets them personalize the gifts. And when they wrap them up and write out the tags, no one will ever have to know they came from an organization.” Each holiday season, Rosie’s Place strives to give poor and homeless women and their children, something everyone wants and deserves—days to look forward to and remember fondly.


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Dear Friends: Holiday time at Rosie’s Place means the pace picks up. More guests, more volunteers, more phone calls, more people interested in lending a hand. From the minute after Halloween to right after New Year’s Day, the bustle of the holidays takes over every corner of Rosie’s Place! Ruthie makes a dozen turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner, and Alev is signing the women up for art workshops to make holiday centerpieces. Katie is working with WBUR on our Christmas Carol fundraiser, and Erin is already figuring out when our holiday toy store will open. We always move fast at Rosie’s Place, but the pace picks up at this time of year. Holiday time at Rosie’s Place means something special is going on. Celebratory meals, extra food in the food pantry, gifts for the women in our shelter. We decorate the dining room, the living room and the lobby. Holiday cards get pinned to the bulletin boards, and the Operations staff breaks out the snow shovels. Someone always donates tickets to the Nutcracker or Black Nativity for the guests, and our friends from Worcester Square always invite us to their tree lighting party. We always make sure we offer a welcoming and warm atmosphere at Rosie’s Place, but there’s something special in the air at this time of year. Holiday time at Rosie’s Place means remembering our guests might be facing extra sadness. Gifts that are too expensive to buy, memories of bad holidays in the past when addiction, illness or poverty interfered, sorrow that someone special is not around anymore. At Rosie’s Place, we remember that sometimes the holidays are the hardest times for our guests. The reminders of what they’re missing—a home, a family—can make November and December the hardest months of all. So we offer a hug, a hand and a smile to every guest to help her shoulder the sorrow and come out smiling. We always offer comfort at Rosie’s Place, but we open our arms even wider at this time of year. Twelve months a year, Rosie’s Place is there for our sisters who struggle against odds that would set most of us on our heels—poverty, illness, homelessness, job loss, isolation. And we’re there because you’re there for us. You remember us rain or shine, winter or summer. Your help and good wishes make it possible for our guests to see beyond the hardships, to lives of dignity and hope. I wish you a wonderful holiday season, full of family and friends. And a hopeful and healthy 2013, in which we can continue to create a community that shows the world how justice looks. With faith,

Sue Marsh

ROSIE’S PLACE NEWS is a publication designed to inform our friends about the activities happening in our community at Rosie’s Place. Our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for poor and homeless women to maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. Executive Director Sue Marsh Director of Development Leemarie Mosca Director of Foundation & Corporate Relations Jamie Doyle Director of Volunteer Services Marty Wengert Editor Lori M. LaDuke Design Big Red Chair Consulting

The Chilling Costs of Winter For Our Guests All too often, the holidays become filled with to-do lists, shopping lists and unrealistic expectations. There’s so much pressure to have the perfect holiday, the perfect meal, the perfect gifts. Our guests and their families feel these same pressures. But they are compounded with their day-to-day worries such as: How will the rent be paid? How can I afford groceries? And in our unrelenting New England winters, how can the heating bill get paid, if I make a special holiday meal or buy that special gift for my child? For many of us, the consequence of a holiday splurge may be going on a diet in January or paying off credit cards until March. But for our guests, one more bill or one special purchase can mean the difference between stability and the streets. In the winter, a high heating bill adds extra costs to an already tightly stretched budget. Guests have to choose between heating their homes or buying groceries. Often the debt snowballs and the balancing act crashes. By spring, Rosie’s Place Advocates see an increase in guests who are in danger of having their utilities shut off or of being evicted.

Rosie’s Place has responded to this critical need by offering assistance with utility arrearages. We also provide winterization workshops to help guests decrease their winter heating costs. Through our Dollars and Cents program, we help guests set budgets and incrementally build their savings. And with our new cooking class, guests can learn creative and money-saving strategies in order to make nutritious, delicious and cost-effective meals for themselves and their families. Rosie’s Place believes that winter living expenses aren’t indulgent splurges, but necessities. With your help, we will ensure that our guests aren’t left out in the cold this winter.

To help support Rosie’s Place or make address changes, please contact the Development Office at 617.442.9322

Q & A with Veteran Volunteer Deb Pasculano For ten years, Deb Pasculano has been a devoted volunteer at Rosie’s Place. She has helped out at the front desk, in the Food Pantry, in the Dining Room, in our Dollars and Cents program and has also served on our Board of Directors. Deb shares the experiences and insight that come from a decade of service at Rosie’s Place. What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about Rosie’s Place? When I talk to people about my work at Rosie’s Place, they’re amazed at how comprehensive the services and programs are here. So many people still think Rosie’s Place is just a shelter or it just serves meals. And when I tell them about programs like Women’s Education, Homelessness Prevention, Public Policy, Self-Advocacy, and the Wellness Center—to name just a few—they’re blown away. What do you see that you have in common with our guests? Much more than I first realized! At the front desk I see firsthand how busy Rosie’s Place guests are. Making appointments and juggling all the things they need to do to find housing, talk with a counselor, or get job help—it takes a lot of work and running around, and I could relate to that. And I see it now when we’re working on budgets together in Dollars and Cents. When you’re making a budget, you’re setting priorities and goals and they’re similar to the ones I have. They want to be able to take care of their households by paying bills and buying groceries. And they want to be able to give their kids the things they need. We all want the same things—good health, stability and to provide for our kids the absolute best that we can. What keeps you coming back to Rosie’s Place— giving so much of your time and energy? Over the years I’ve seen so many success stories. Whether it’s a woman who gets off the street and into an apartment of her own, or a student learning English in the Women’s Education program or even a guest who writes her first poem in the Arts program—there are all kinds of successes at Rosie’s Place. And I count myself lucky to be able to witness them and by volunteering, contribute to them. What are three words that best describe you? Organized, compassionate and loyal. What are three words that best describe Rosie’s Place? Welcoming, respectful and busy!




As winter arrives, the days get shorter and colder for the thousands of poor and homeless women we serve each year at Rosie’s Place. The temperature drops, and the need for a hot meal, a warm coat, a place to sleep for the night and basic medical care only rises. This holiday season, there are many opportunities for both individuals and organizations to support the women and work of Rosie’s Place: • Donate winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens. • Lead a Food Drive to stock the shelves of our Food Pantry. • Donate toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion and toothbrushes. Give twice, when you do your holiday shopping at Rosie’s Place:

Not even a hurricane could stop Rosie’s Place supporters! The day after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, nearly 1,300 supporters gathered together at this year’s annual Funny Women...Serious Business luncheon on October 30th and raised almost $500,000 for the guests of Rosie’s Place. Special thanks go out to our Headlining Sponsors: Bank of America, Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare Foundation and Liberty Mutual, along with Presenting Centerpiece Sponsor Neiman Marcus Natick for helping to make this year’s Funny Women...Serious Business such a success!

In October the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts (AGC) held their second Community Service Day at Rosie’s Place. More than 35 firms of the AGC helped us improve the Front Desk, Lobby, and Wellness Center at Rosie’s Place. Everyone at Rosie’s Place was impressed with their efficiency and enthusiasm. Most of all, we were amazed that such a large group could so seamlessly come together and accomplish so much in such a short a time. Both our guests and staff continue to praise the changes and improvements.

• Buy beautiful jewelry from our Women’s Craft Cooperative. You’ll be giving a unique gift to a loved one while supporting Rosie’s Place, too. • Purchase Rosie’s Place holiday cards. • Give a gift in honor of someone special. For that person “who has everything,” make a donation to Rosie’s Place in their name. • Make a monetary contribution so that we can continue to provide hope and help to the rising numbers of women who need us this holiday season. For more ideas and details on ways to give, please visit the Giving section of our website, at

winter WISH LIST

As the days turn shorter and the weather turns colder, Rosie’s Place is in need of new or gently used hats, gloves, scarves, mittens and socks to help our guests fight the cold. We are also in need of winter coats, size 16 and up. New underwear and bras (especially large sizes) are always in demand throughout the year. Once inside, guests appreciate a cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa to warm up. Single servings of hot chocolate mix, tea bags, coffee beans and individual packets of instant coffee are appreciated. Coffee mugs are also welcomed.

With your help, we can continue to make the cold months a little warmer for our guests. Donations can be dropped off at Rosie’s Place between 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Directions are online at

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT WITH ABLEBANKING Rosie’s Place is proud to partner with ableBanking, an online-only savings program that gives great rates, charges no fees and gives each new customer $25 to designate to any charity they choose (including Rosie’s Place). Our partnership with ableBanking will end on December 31st, but before that happens, ableBanking will DOUBLE the impact of any new accounts when you choose Rosie’s Place as your charity!


When you enter the code ‘25250’, ableBanking gives an additional $25 for you to designate! This offer is only available until January 1st, so start saving and giving with ableBanking today. Visit to sign up now!

Looking for that special holiday gift for a family member, teacher or friend? Consider a gift from the Women’s Craft Cooperative. The WCC offers unique handcrafted jewelry and gift items that everyone loves to give... and receive! The Women’s Craft Cooperative has added several new products to our online store, including new bracelets and necklaces. We have also created our first ever crystal ornament which comes in several color palettes. These delicate ornaments look pretty hanging on a tree or decorating your home. To view our collection, shop the WCC online at You can also shop our one-of-a-kind items at the WCC Boutique at Rosie’s Place, 47 Thorndike Street, open Monday through Friday 10:00am-5:00pm. Call 617.318.0282 before you come, so we can welcome you! The Women’s Craft Cooperative will also have a booth at the following holiday fairs: • SWEA Yuletide Fair, December 15 Boston Center for the Arts 539 Tremont Street, Boston • Bazaar Bizarre, December 16 Boston Center for the Arts 539 Tremont Street, Boston




Rosie’s Place is looking for volunteers to help at our holiday gift wrap booth at the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. All proceeds support Rosie’s Place.

Put your networking hat on, bring your friends and learn more about Rosie’s Place at this fun shopping night in Boston.

WBUR 90.9 FM will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its reading of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. Join your favorite WBUR personalities at Boston’s historic Omni Parker House, the site of Dickens’ first reading, as they bring this timeless tale to life. Tickets are $50 and all ticket sales benefit Rosie’s Place. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Marty Wengert at 617.318.0218 or

For information or to RSVP contact Ben Weisman at 617.318.0232 or 889 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02118


2012 Winter Newsletter  

An overview of the latest news at Rosie's Place.

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