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There was lots for MATS to be thankful for in 2013

During last year, the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter enjoyed many successes. For example, we offered shelter to eight families and two single women for a total of 27 guests (10 adults and 17 children). These people came to MATS from Bennington, Greenville, Hillsborough, New Ipswich and Peterborough. The average stay for a guest last year was 147 days, which is a marked improvement over other years when some guests stayed six months or more, but up from last year’s total.

We received a total of 99 calls for shelter during 2013 but either the shelter was full or for other reasons, MATS could not assist them. However, our case manager always refers anyone we cannot help to other situations and/or shelters, and offers suggestions where she able.

Of those who did stay at MATS, several people or families are now in their own apartments, and one more single mother with a small child will be moving to her own place at the beginning of February. Two guests have new jobs and one is in school part-time while also working a part-time job. We have been able to offer a better car to one guest which helps her get to the job that she already had when she came to the shelter.

Thanks to one of the grants we received last year, MATS has established a program for tracking former guests in an effort to avoid recurring homelessness for them. During the summer and early fall, we received quality organic food that was not sold at the close of the Chicks Farmers’ Market held each Monday afternoon on the grounds of the Monadnock Community Hospital. Board members worked to create a new website for MATS which can be found at www.matsnh.org. And a Facebook presence makes MATS up-to-date indeed.

We received many wonderful gifts for our guests at Christmas from the Peterborough Garden Club, the Divine Mercy Church as well as Ocean Job Lot and Walmart gift cards from Grace Lutheran Church. And many local citizens donated the Shaw Saver Stamps for a former guest who needed new dishes. In fact, we received so many stamps that our case manager purchased another set of dishes to save for other guests when they move on and might need dishes. A special thank you to everyone who gave so much happiness to our guests.

On Dec. 21, National Homeless Memorial Day, we held our second annual candlelight a vigil on the steps of the Peterborough Town House. During the short ceremony, board members read the names of 29 New Hampshire residents who died due to being homeless in 2013. And the money placed in store counter jars during November and December yielded over $300.

Thank you to everyone who donated to our Annual Fund and the many other ways mentioned last year. MATS cannot do the work that is so important to those in need without the generosity of so many Monadnock region citizens. We look forward to a fruitful 2014 for everyone.

Wish List: A reliable car, a toddler bed and bedding.

Hope Pettegrew of Hancock is a former board member but remains a volunteer for MATS. MATS is a transitional shelter, not an emergency shelter. MATS collaborates with The River Center.

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