The Pine Street Inn is a homeless shelter for men and women in Boston. The Inn serves people of many different races, nationalities and religions. They range in age from eighteen to eighty, and older. Pine Street guests have a wide variety of backgrounds and speak numerous languages. Some have had little formal schooling, while others have advanced degrees. Many are unemployed, but a number have full- or part-time jobs. Some struggle with mental illness, disability, addiction, or isolation; and none has found affordable housing. With help, some guests are able to move beyond shelter fairly rapidly. But for many others, it takes time to regain stability and the confidence to face the world.
Pine Street Inn services include outreach, health care, addiction counseling and recovery groups, and job training. We also give referrals to other service providers. Inn staff provide all guests with encouragement and the tools needed to reconnect with work, housing, and community.
Saint Mary’s in Holliston supports the Pine Street Inn by preparing and serving meals for the residents. Our adult food group usually has about 65 members each year. We have a schedule that runs from October through September of the following year.
On the first Saturday of each month, the adult food group of Street Mary’s prepares a complete meal to take into Boston to serve in the women’s dining hall. Our group is divided into cooks and bakers. The cooks work in teams of three to plan the menu, do the grocery shopping and cooking and also to drive to Pine Street to serve the meal. The cooks usually meet in the kitchen of the parish center to cook together. We currently are serving approximately 100 women guests per visit.
The cooks prepare three large steam table pans of entree, two large pans of salad and 8-10 loaves of bread. The cooks usually contribute part or all of the cost of the meal, but volunteering does not depend on being able to afford it, so receipts can be submitted to Street Mary’s if necessary. Usually, six bakers are also assigned to a particular date. They are asked to bake as least three dozen individual dessert servings of their choice. They deliver their baked goods to the parish center kitchen for the cooks to bring along with the meal.
We have seen this program grow and develop over the years and become an integral part of the ministry at Street Mary’s. It has become a way to meet new people and to spend time with friends planning menus, finding recipes, shopping, cooking and driving to Boston to Pine Street Inn. Many stop for a bite to eat later, reflecting on individual thoughts and feelings about the experience. It is always an experience that touches the heart in some way. The guests at Pine Street are always gracious and appreciative. The Pine Street staff are also always grateful for our home cooked touch. It is a way for us to reach out and help those having trouble helping themselves.
“When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and repayment come to you. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
For more information, or to sign up to help with Street Mary’s Pine Street Inn Ministry, please call Mrs. Laura Koziol at 508-429-7174.