Fresh perspective helps family get back on its feet

A family of four, including both parents, is now at the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter. They heard about MATS through their town welfare officer and moved in several weeks ago. They are working hard to keep a bright outlook on their situation and to move ahead.

The husband lost his job, and consequently, now their home. Both parents credit our case manager, Susan, with helping them in many ways, from securing insurance to food stamps. “She is wonderful,” I was told in a recent interview. She has guided them to The River Center on Concord Street in Peterborough, where a person there assists them in their job search. “Susan has made this transition so much easier for us,” the wife told me. She added that she doesn’t have sleepless nights now as so many people at MATS are so helpful. The other guests are very helpful, and some board members have stopped by to see that the family is doing well.

The wife has been a stay-at-home mom recently, but she would like a part-time job so that she can be home when the children get home from school each day after it starts again. The father has multi-years experience in manufacturing.

Susan brings a “fresh mind” to their situation, suggesting other things for them to look into and think about. And the children spend time helping Susan while they are at MATS as a way to “pay back” what the family is now gaining. They have not attended the church suppers offered each week in Peterborough, but we talked about their doing that soon.

While the food stamps and going to both food pantries in Peterborough helps this family manage, they also use coupons for other products that people cannot purchase with food stamps.

And every other week, the family, along with other MATS guests, receives fresh vegetables and bread at the end of the day on Mondays from the Fresh Chicks Outdoor Marketplace, which is held weekly on the grounds of the Monadnock Community Hospital. On the alternate week, fresh items go to guests at Shelter From the Storm in Jaffrey. Thank you to the Fresh Chicks for their donations!

Did you know that food stamps cannot buy many essential items that we all take for granted when we shop, like paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning products, feminine products and tooth brushes? And cash is needed as well for gas, while both parents look for jobs.

At MATS, we currently have a need for volunteers who might be interested in serving on the Board of Trustees. Being involved with the shelter is very rewarding on so many levels. If you have a special expertise, such as writing, advocating for people in need, computer or accounting skills, or mentoring, please call the MATS office at 924-5033 and leave a message for Joan.

Wish list: Reliable car, diapers sizes 2 and up, gas cards, gift cards at CVS or RiteAid, If you have coupons for any essential products listed above or other items, please send them to MATS at P. O. Box 3053 in Peterborough, but please do not send gas cards in the mail. For all other items, please call the office at 924-5033, and leave a message with Susan. Someone will make arrangements to pick them up.

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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