Posted by Tim Kelley on Dec 18, 2020
picture of symphony hall
Rotary District 7930 received a grant from The Rotary Foundation to help with COVID relief and was able to provide St. Francis House (SFH) personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff who engage in face-to-face mental health services, and to assist with its food program.  St. Francis House, in Downtown Boston, is the largest day shelter in Massachusetts, serving an average of 500 poor and homeless men and women a day, 365 days a year. 
The funding District 7930 received from the Foundation was augmented by donations from a number of local Rotary Clubs, as well as from Rotary Clubs in Kyoto, which is Boston’s sister city.  The other local beneficiary of the Rotary grant is Care Dimensions, which offers hospice and palliative care services throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

A major element of the health care SFH offers is related to mental health, and each year our Mental Health and Case Management teams provide 12,000 instances of counseling services. SFH's Client Engagement Services personnel serve as first responders for guests in distress.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on the population it serves, with mental health issues exacerbated by the stress and uncertainty the pandemic has brought with it. SFH has been hit with the unanticipated and ongoing expense of outfitting our counseling staff with PPE.

In addition, the pandemic has altered the way SFH is able to provide meals to our guests. No longer able to rely on the volunteers who for years have worked in the kitchen prepping and serving meals, SFH had to add additional paid staff for its food program. They've also seen an increase in kitchen-related costs because the meals have been prepared “to-go”, rather than served on reusable trays. 
Now, thanks to Rotary International, SFH is able to provide PPE for its staff and continue to safely offer their guests healthy and nutritious meals.
For more information about SFH, see their website.