Building student involvement, fostering civic engagement and enhancing community service to advance public health. 

The Cardinal Medeiros Center, a center for homeless elderly in Boston, needs our help as they face relocation. Abigail Manzella (D19 Community Service Co-Director) has created a petition to organize support to ensure that the attendees of the center will continue to have a safe place to go to for food, housing, and case management. Please read on to learn more about the Cardinal Medeiros Center, how the center came to have a place in the heart of the D19 class, and how you can help!

“I have had the absolute pleasure of volunteering and providing oral health information to the homeless men at the Cardinal Medeiros Center in Boston for over six months now. Everyone at the center has always welcomed me with open arms and they have all become a second family to me.

I live in a beautiful area in Boston but when I am in a rush for class I take a shortcut through an alleyway to get to school faster. This alley is filled with homeless people and I always figured it was just a place for them to get away from the busy streets. I always tried to stay far away from them because I was scared of them for one reason or another. One morning last November, I was in a rush to class and cut through the alley way. A few hours later, I realized I did not have my wallet and and assumed it must have been left in my apartment. I was on my way home to get it when I got a text from a previous co-worker asking if I had lost my wallet. She continued to tell me it was found and sent me a name and number to call. When I called, I spoke to Jack Collins, the program coordinator at the Cardinal Medeiros Center. Jack told me about the center he works at and I realized the entry is in that alleyway. One of the homeless men he knows very well brought him my wallet this morning with all of my cash, gift cards, and credit cards in it. Jack proceeded to look me up online and called all of the numbers he could find. When that wasn’t successful, he found my LinkedIn profile and contacted my previous work, eventually connecting with me. I went by to thank them both and give them hugs. I told him how I don’t know many people who would have done that for me and how grateful I was for him. When I asked Victor (the homeless man that found my wallet) if I could take him out for a coffee and meal, he told me he felt badly because he had already volunteered to help serve their Thanksgiving lunch that was just starting. I gave him the money I had on me to thank him. As co-director of community service for the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Class of 2019, I wanted to pay it forward to this center. This is a sober center and many of the attendees have college educations. Victor has nothing to his name. Both Jack and I were tearing up when he passed on a free extra meal to volunteer his time to the center. Since then, the TUSDM Class of 2019 has been visiting with the men at the Cardinal Medeiros Center and providing oral health promotion. 

The Cardinal Medeiros Center is the first and only center for homeless elderly in Boston and one of the only sober centers in Boston. It has been helping homeless and nearly homeless elders for well over 30 years. It is a safe place for them to stay during the day and a place for them to get breakfast, lunch, coffee, and companionship, as well as case management and emergency help. This center does not turn clients away when they do get housing, but continues as a social center for those who were once homeless so that they can maintain the friendships that they made during their tougher times. Over its long history, this center has helped hundreds of people move from homelessness to housing.

Unfortunately, the Cardinal Medeiros Center has to move. As Boston becomes more and more unaffordable, churches are continuously being sold and redeveloped into luxury condos. The center has had to move from Holy Trinity in the past and now has to find a new place to move to again. The men who spend much of their time at the center are afraid that there will be no place for them to spend time and get help and support. They will be left to walk the streets during the day and will have to try to find some way to get breakfast and lunch.

I am writing this in hopes that you will sign my petition to show your support of the Cardinal Medeiros Center. This petition will be shown to the Archdiocese of Boston, City of Boston Elderly Affairs, Department of Neighborhood Development, and the City Council of Boston to show them how important this center is and to ask for their help in finding an affordable place for the center to relocate to that is close enough for all of the current attendees to still be able to go to.

To give your electronic signature for this petition, please click this HERE.

To learn more about the center or make donations, please contact Jack Collins at jcollins2@baycove.org.

Thank you all so much for your support!
-Abigail Manzella

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