Gathering Change Inc. is Alleviating Hunger in Massachusetts with Spare Change
Massachusetts has the biggest disparity between the rich and poor of any place in the United States. There are over 800,000 people in Eastern Massachusetts who do not know where their next meal is coming from. Citizens are struggling to pay for rent, food, fuel, and prescription drugs.
In January of 2008, at the beginning of what we now know as the recession, Dorothy Goodwin heard that people were lining up at the food pantries an hour or two before the doors opened, and some food pantries had to close their doors because they could not stay stocked. Dorothy had an idea. “I was watching the Presidential Debates and the resounding theme was “Change.” I thought what could I do to bring about change without relying on our government? I went to make a cup of tea and there it was; a fishbowl full of spare change. I knew at that moment that when a fishbowl is full of water it will sustain the life of a fish, but when it is full of spare change it will sustain the life of a human being. If I had this much change so did my neighbors.’
For the next few months Dorothy Goodwin met with friends Marianne Snow and Judy Bousquin to plan and write the mission statement and bylaws. Then Yvonne Blacker came on board as the graphic designer. Dorothy’s husband and brother-in-law helped with the website. Susie Cleary became their Treasurer and Marianne Supino and Jean Santosuosso were the Co-Secretaries. Once all the paperwork was completed and approved, Gathering Change went to work building their board and recruiting volunteers.
Fundraisers have included everything from a Flashmob for Change, Game Nights, spare change collections in lieu of birthday parties from as young as 10 to as old as 60, Wrap for Change, Cupcakes for Change and Dining for a Cause. Schools are collecting using slogans like “Have you Filled a Bucket Today? Faith Communities are doing change drives during the Lenten Season. Other activities include A Hunger Awareness Fundraiser Breakfast, an upcoming Scavenger Hunt, Golf Fundraiser, Girls Night Out fundraiser, and an event coming to Endicott College in October called About Hunger and Resilience to raise hunger awareness. This is a photo/audio exhibit by the famous photographer Michael Nye. They also sell note cards by town, keeping with their theme that the funds go back to your community. In Memory and In Honor of cards for loved ones are also available.
Here is what makes Gathering Change, Inc. different:
• The funds raised in your community stay in your community.
• Gathering Change, Inc. has an all volunteer working board and no salaries are taken.
• Everyone has the ability to participate in this giving opportunity.
• Your spare change makes an immediate difference in the lives of your neighbors.
Since their first collection in October of 2008 Gathering change has been able to supply over 43 Massachusetts food pantries with food or funds. The $100,000 they have raised represents funds most of us did not even know we had, such as the spare change sitting on top of our dryers, at the bottom of our pocketbooks, on the floor of our cars and in our pockets.
“What’s in your pocket? A loaf of bread? A gallon of milk?”
More About This Charity
Hunger and Poverty Relief
Gathering Change, Inc.
Gathering Change, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization that collects spare change from our homes, schools, businesses and faith communities. Our mission is to meet the immediate basic needs of citizens within our cities and towns who cannot achieve this goal alone. The funds are distributed back into our local food pantries. Gathering Change gives everyone the opportunity to participate by sharing their abundance thereby fostering a sense of interconnection and care.
- 43 Food Pantries have been supported with food or funds.
- $100,000 was raised through this Achievement alone
- Thousands of people have been supported through Gathering Change, Inc.