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Circle Of Hope Gives Homeless Families What’s Often Taken For Granted

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NEEDHAM (CBS) — It’s a volunteer team working together to help some of the most vulnerable people in the Boston area.

And it’s called the “Circle of Hope” for a reason. A regular morning at Circle of Hope in Needham and the place is buzzing.

Volunteers accepting donations of clothes, sorting and sizing everything that come in, and packing cars to make deliveries.

“We clothe poor and homeless families,” says Barbara Waterhouse, who started the non-profit five years ago. “Circle of Hope started with 2 volunteers and currently has 50 active volunteers coming in and out, sorting, making deliveries, packaging up orders, special requests for what individuals need in every shelter,” she explains.

That’s 15 shelters in Greater Boston that Circle of Hope serves.

“Through the clothing we give to these children we enable them to walk into a classroom, have pride in themselves and become a part of that group,” says Judy Waterhouse, who volunteers.

And it’s the volunteers who are the lifeblood of the effort.

“I just feel fortunate that I’m able to help others who are in need of all these wonderful clothes we get donated to us every day,” says volunteer Dauri Hammer.

Grocery bags packed with clothing line every available space.

“We probably send out 160 bags per week,” says Barbara Waterhouse. Each is stuffed with clothing, shoes or linens. Jim and Gwen Brown have volunteered with Circle of Hope almost since the beginning.

“It just fills something in me because I keep coming back,” says Gwen.

Today they’re loading their car for a run to a shelter for mothers and their children.

“All you’ve got to do is go to one of the places we deliver to, and there’s the answer,” says Jim.

Their delivering to a shelter in Roxbury called Project Hope, which houses 11 families.

“Sometimes they come to us and they don’t have a lot of clothing. So to receive those donations are really a gift to our families,” says shelter director Rosa Almanzar.

And back in Needham, that’s all they need to hear.

“How could you not feel good about yourself when you’re helping someone else,” says Dauri Hammer.

In the past year Circle of Hope has provided clothing to about 4,000 homeless people.

Do you know people working to make their communities better? Let WBZ-TV Producer Ken Tucci know (krtucci@wbztv.com) We’d like to do a story about them.

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