On any given day the Haven is abuzz with tremendous activity. Sitting on the wall outside the front door and watching the comings and goings in the parking lot gives a strong overall sense of all that is going on.
Some people are coming to meet a friend in the Café. Others have appointments to meet with staff people for assistance with all sorts of concerns – housing, medical, education, employment. Others arrive to take on their various roles as volunteers. Still others arrive bringing a wide variety of donations. Then there are the folks coming for the day to day practical concerns like food and clothing.
A family of four comes out of the Haven with a cart load of food. The children are dancing and singing as they munch on some fresh apples. Mom and dad load the car with looks of relief on their faces. They smile as their children play around them. These groceries will relieve the pressure of providing for day to day sustenance for their family.
A family van pulls into the parking lot. A couple gets out and goes around back of the vehicle. The woman and man work together pulling bag after bag. I’m guessing donations are arriving and I wonder what treasures they are bringing. The woman pulls a large, oversized piece of luggage out of the van and heads for the door. She is no sooner inside when a young man approaches her and asks if that is a donation. When she answers “yes”, the young man smiles and asks if he may have it. She returns his smile and hands him the piece of luggage. “Thank you so much!” he gushes. “It will be wonderful having such a nice thing. No more trash bags!”
Two young women exit the Haven and go quickly to their vehicle. There they begin to exclaim with delight over a dress one of them obtained in the clothing room. It seems she is going to some sort of fancy affair and has lucked out finding the “perfect dress” at the Haven. One exclaims, “It’s so beautiful! Look at those colors and ruffles! It will be perfect!” Another day made happy for two more people.
An older woman and young man leave the Haven smiling as they carry a toy box. It seems this will be a present for a young child. The name on the box is not the right name but the young man is confident that can be changed with little difficulty. “He is going to love it!” exclaims the older woman, admiring the artwork on the chest.
As I watch the comings and goings a dominant thought occurs to me. The Haven is well named. People go there with concerns and worries then leave with looks of relief and happiness. The Haven has so much to offer, brings such relief and happiness to so many. Thank you, Haven!
– J. Bourque Dolan
The Haven Through 40 Years
The Haven will commemorate its four decades of service to the region by releasing 40 stories of people, events, ideas, and services fundamental to our mission. We will be releasing these stories weekly, so check back often.