Our Father's House, Inc.
Our Father's House receives $22,000 donation from church
FITCHBURG -- In 2010, The Church of the Good Shepherd in West Fitchburg merged with The Parish of Christ Church in downtown Fitchburg. In its final action to distribute assets, the board (vestry) of The Church of the Good Shepherd voted unanimously to make a $22,000 donation to the ongoing "Street Outreach Program" of Our Father's House.
Clean and sober, Fitchburg man lends his hard-luck story to documentary
FITCHBURG -- Standing at a 6 feet tall with a heavy build, bald head and a thick, flowing beard, Donald Sparks is the last person you'd expect to collect Teddy bears.
He said he finds the plush animals or receives them from people broken, stitching them back together where they need it. Sparks, 47, a former tough guy, bar bouncer and a recovering alcoholic and crack addict, is also stitching his own life back together.
Fitchburg man finds salvation with origami
FITCHBURG -- A smile spread over Walter Oppenheimer's face, as out of the corner of his eye he noticed a child marveling over his origami exhibit at the Fitchburg Public Library on Tuesday. Since taking up the traditional Japanese folk art of paper folding, Oppenheimer has found more than just joy in the craft, he's found salvation.
It's Time to Bundle Up
Bitter cold is expected to sweep through the region this weekend, and local officials are cautioning residents to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Gould said sub-zero temperatures will envelop the area Sunday night and the cold will continue into Monday, when temperatures are expected to climb only to about 8 degrees.
Transitions at Devens provides housing for families needing help
The shelter is filling a need in the area, as agencies see an increase in homeless families. Judith E. Nest-Pasierb, executive director of Fitchburg-based Our Father's House, said that according to the state Department of Housing and Community Development, 814 families are in motels waiting for a shelter placement. The 13-unit facility on Cavite Street, called Transitions at Devens, was full on Aug. 19, its first day.
Sad but smooth transition at Our Father’s House
New director pays tribute to dedication of predecessor
FITCHBURG — Even in her last days fighting lung cancer, former Our Father’s House Executive Director Barbara R. Garneau worked to ensure the agency’s missions continued uninterrupted.
Ms. Garneau, who died on March 23 at age 58, was as much part of Our Father’s House as the agency’s mission. Incorporated in 1983, the agency opened its first emergency shelter on March 4, 1985, providing meals, shelter, housing search and advocacy services to homeless men and women. A few years later, Ms. Garneau was at the helm running things as executive director right up until her death. The new executive director of Our Father’s House, Judith Nest-Pasierb, said Ms. Garneau started making arrangements to train someone who would eventually replace her as soon as she was diagnosed with the terminal disease in January 2009.
Our Father's House names new director
DEVENS -- The Board of Directors of Our Father's House has voted unanimously to hire Judith Nest-Pasierb to be the new executive director, said President of the Board Joe Giovino. Giovino stated, "The board was pleased to find such a unique and qualified individual with the management and social service experience to lead Our Father's House."
Garneau succumbs to cancer
FITCHBURG -- Barbara Garneau, the executive director of Our Father's House in Fitchburg for 23 years, died Wednesday morning, after being diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago. Garneau's friends and colleagues remembered her as a tireless advocate for the homeless, who reached out to local agencies and legislatures to make sure those with no place to go were taken care of.
When temperatures dip, conditions turn deadly for homeless
FITCHBURG -- A cold snap like the one that swept the region last week brings back a sad memory for Ward 3 City Councilor Joel Kaddy. Years ago, Kaddy, then a police officer, received a call about a homeless man seeking shelter inside the intermodal station on Main Street. Kaddy gave the man two dollars, and told him to buy a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts across the street. He made some calls to find a place for the man to go for the night, but when he finished, the homeless man was nowhere to be found."They found him the next morning. He died of exposure," said Kaddy.
FSC fraternity sleeps outside for homelessness
FITCHBURG -- Sigma Pi Fraternity brothers piled cardboard boxes in Fitchburg State College's main quad Friday evening, to eventually build their houses for the evening. The brothers were tossing a football and mentally preparing to stay outside all night in 38 degree weather.
Main Street's social service dilemma
Fitchburg business owner Clark Straight said private investment plans in the city's downtown show promise for Main Street. But a large number of social-service programs, including revived plans for a "feeding ministry" in a Main Street church, could have a negative impact on the city, Straight, who owns the Johnsonia Condominiums, said Thursday.
Bill would grant homeless more legal protection
BOSTON -- An Andover representative last week announced plans to offer homeless individuals more bodily protection by filing legislation to include them under the state's hate crime statute. "This is about protecting those individuals who are most vulnerable," said Rep. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, at a press conference yesterday, citing a statistic from the National Coalition for the Homeless that reports 386 homeless people in the U.S. have been attacked since 1999, resulting in 156 deaths.
Area doesn't need more shelters
Homelessness is a problem with many causes. Some people simply fall behind the financial eight-ball. For others, mental illness and substance abuse are contributing factors. And while many people who are technically "homeless" manage to put a roof over their heads, either in a shelter or with family or friends, a certain amount of people find themselves living on the streets.
Fitchburg police chief: Region needs more homeless shelters
FITCHBURG -- A tarp fastened to steel green girders prevents dirt from falling onto Pam McDowell's bed, which is located under a downtown bridge. "I've been here two years -- winter, spring, fall," said McDowell, sitting barefoot on a patch of ground covered by old carpeting as she passes an oversized bottle of vodka to a friend late Monday morning. "There's too many people out here."
Our Father's House director receives National Grange Public Service Award
LUNENBURG -- Barbara Garneau, executive director of Our Father's House in Fitchburg, was the recipient of the National Grange Public Service Award at a ceremony held Monday at Lunenburg United Parish House. The Middlesex Worcester Pomona Grange No. 3 presented the award to Garneau in recognition for "outstanding community service."