Jun 2, 2021

Rosie's Place's Food Programs, Spring 2021 update

Dining Room
Dining Room

Thanks to friends like you, the doors of Rosie’s Place have remained open throughout the pandemic, and our critical Food Programs continue to be a lifeline for poor and homeless women and their children—those made most vulnerable and those who have experienced the greatest impact of the health crisis over the past year. 

As our food expenses soared to address urgent needs, your generous support of our Food Programs, through GlobalGiving, helped Rosie’s Place remain a safety net for women and families who are struggling with food insecurity. We are grateful for your care and compassion for our guests and your partnership in our work.

Food Programs

Our practice of making delicious and healthy meals for our guests, served with unconditional love, has continued throughout the pandemic—now with additional safety precautions in place. We serve over 160 wholesome meals and snacks each day, which are available for our guests to enjoy in the dining room or take to-go.

Our Food Pantry service model has changed, now providing groceries to women weekly rather than monthly. We have more than doubled the Pantry’s daily capacity. With 250 women receiving groceries each day, we are serving more households than ever before.

We have also relocated the Pantry from a tent outside in our parking lot to our Women’s Education Center, where women are able to register for and receive groceries through the building’s waist-high windows. Overall, we are providing far greater food access, in a safe, dignified, and time efficient manner. 

Dining Room:


  • 3 meals served on weekdays and 2 meals served on weekends (69,919 meals July 2019-March 15, 2020)
  • Meals served to housed and homeless women
  • On average 150-200 guests served


  • Meals served all day
  • Meals prepared to have onsite or to-go
  • One guest per table, reduced dining room capacity to 40 guests
  • 170 meals served to homeless women per day
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures in between guests dining, and mandatory handwashing before meals

Food Pantry:


  • 520 women served weekly in choice-based pantry where guests could select fresh and non-perishable grocery items
  • Visits limited to once per month


  • 1,250 women served weekly with pre-made grocery bags containing fresh and non-perishable food items
  • More frequent visits permitted
  • Program situated outdoors
Food Pantry
Food Pantry
Jan 20, 2021

Report on Rosie's Place Operations, FY2020

Thanks to friends like you, Rosie’s Place’s doors have remained open throughout the pandemic. Responding to the health crisis, our programs and service delivery changed in March 2020. Prioritizing the health and stability of our community—we incorporated social distancing as well as medical screenings and intensive cleaning and hygienic practices organization-wide. Our resources were challenged, and how we give our help has changed—but our welcome and compassion have never stopped. In FY2020, forty-six years after our founding, you helped us to accomplish so much.


Survival & Sanctuary_____________________________________________________________________


  • Our Emergency Overnight Shelter provided 375 three-week stays to 207 unique women from July 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020During their time with us, guests worked with our Advocates to find permanent homes and secure the services they need. 

o   As of March 16, 2020, we extended indefinitely, the stays of the 20 women staying with us. This continuity and stability has been integral in keeping our guests and staff well. Should guests secure other housing and move out, we have established quarantine and testing procedures to ensure new guests are safely introduced to the established community. 


  • Open 365 days of the year, Rosie’s Place’s Dining Room served 69,919 nutritionally balanced breakfasts, lunches and dinners from July 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020.

o   When Massachusetts residents were ordered to stay-at-home, our Dining Room began serving only homeless women. From March 16 to June 30, 2020, we served 18,190 meals to-go or for guests to enjoy at a social distance in our Dining Room. This is a total of 88,109 meals served over the year.  Additionally, we added hearty, nutritious snacks to the menu, enabling us to provide food all day long to our guests, so that at any time a woman came into Rosie’s Place, she had immediate access to food.


  • Rosie’s Place’s Food Pantry welcomed 17,781 visits from July 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020—providing an average of 2,091 women per month, with two bags (20 to 30 pounds) of groceries.

o   When Massachusetts residents were ordered to stay-at-home, our Pantry was moved outdoors in order to lower the risk of crowding and infection in our main building. From March 16to June 30, 2020, we accommodated 13,054 visits. Every woman was given a pre-made bag of shelf-stable groceries as well as a bag of fresh produce. We also distributed masks and household items such as toilet paper in these bags. Since the start of the pandemic, food insecurity has surged and in response, this critical program nearly doubled its capacity—serving an average of 3,729 visits per month.

  • Our Wellness Center accommodated 2,453 visits from July 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020. Volunteer doctors, nurses and medical students assisted women with: routine vital signs checking, blood sugar level-monitoring, immunizations, pregnancy testing, blood pressure screening, dental referrals and addiction services. 


o   Following the onset of the pandemic, our Wellness Center services transformed into medical screenings for each guest who visits our facility. Health Care Without Walls, one of our longtime Wellness Center partners, helps us to screen guests for fever, cough and other COVID-19 symptoms. With their expertise, we are able to keep up-to-date logs of guests’ baselines and should any COVID-19 symptoms be discovered, refer them to nearby medical services for testing or treatment. From March 16to June 30, 2020, we performed an average of 90 medical screenings each day.


  • Rosie’s Place provided:5,463 showers, 1,084 loads of laundry, 4,460 phone uses and 4,002 computer uses from July 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020.

o   When Massachusetts residents were ordered to stay-at-home, our main facility began serving only homeless women in-person as many of our housed guests were able to shelter in place.  From March 16 to June 30, 2020, the need for these basic—and critical survival services for homeless women was acute. We provided the most basic and critical services such as: showers, clean clothing, Tracfones, lockers to store their belongings, masks and hand sanitizer and toiletries to help women sanitize when on the streets or in other programs.


Advocacy & Empowerment_________________________________________________________________


  • Pre-pandemic, our Advocacy department logged 10,099 appointments, helping guests with housing, medical services, educational and employment opportunities, legal advice, clothing, transportation and emergency funds for prescriptions and eviction prevention. 

o   In response to the health crisis, our Advocacy services became remote, moving from in-person to online and over the phone assistance.FromMarch 16 to June 30, 2020, Advocates addressed 3,767 calls seeking our assistance, for a total of 13,866 appointments.

  • Over the course of the year, our Mental Health Clinicians provided 3,959 in-person and over-the-phone sessions with guests who struggle to access and maintain consistent therapy.
  • Pre-pandemic, Legal Services staff provided 962 consultations to guests, helping them with housing, family, immigration, employment, debt and benefit matters.


o   Following the health crisis, our Legal Services became remote, moving from in-person to online and over the phone assistance.FromMarch 16 to June 30, 2020, our Legal Services staff addressed 201 calls seeking our assistance, for a total of 1,163 consultations.


Opportunities & Steppingstones______________________________________________________________

  • Our Women’s Education Center provided 375 students with an opportunity to improve their skills and increase their self-sufficiency through free ESOL, Literacy and Technology courses and one-

on-one tutoring

o   In the wake of the pandemic, Rosie’s Place discontinued our in-person education courses schedule for the spring, which are led by almost 100 volunteer teachers. From March through June 2020, we have reached out to our many students to check on their wellbeing, and connected them with services. Staff also researched viable remote learning technology for our students—many of whom lack computers and/or computer knowledge to use traditional online education tools. This resulted in a multi-pronged approach to teaching: a pilot Zoom ESOL class is now underway for tech-savvy students; a curriculum comprised of 6 weekly conversations on topics such as Staying Safe in the Pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, through scheduled phone calls with teachers for 75 students has begun, and we have purchased 100 subscriptions to a low-barrier remote learning software for students with the technology and know-how to utilize it.

  • Our Employment Specialist accommodated 659 in-person and over-the-phone sessions through the year—helping guests with employment searches, resume writing, job applications and interview skills.

o   COVID-19 has brought high unemployment rates and high occupational health risks to much of the workforce. Consequently, our Employment Specialist helped guests navigate unemployment benefits and in seeking work in new fields.


  • Our Women’s Craft Cooperative—a successful micro-enterprise offering employment opportunities in a supportive environment for women who may face obstacles in traditional workplaces—graduated 2 guests—with significant new skills and job experiencefrom its year-long program.

Outreach & Stabilization___________________________________________________________________


  • 100% of the 58 guests receiving our Stabilization and Community Health Outreach services remained housed and stable this year.
  • Our innovative Community Collaborative brings the resources of Rosie’s Place to underserved communities of women in the Boston area. From July 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020:
    • At the Franklin Field housing development in Dorchester, we accommodated 1,027 appointments, providing women with groceries, advocacy and legal and job assistance. In January, 2020, this program merged with our Advocacy program, with support being offered to this community remotely.


    • Working in 50 Boston Public Schools, we accommodated 2,171 visits from mothers, assisting them with advocacy, housing and food needs.


    • In nine area courthouses, we accommodated 1,014 visits, helping women who were there as victims, offenders or witnesses, to access food, housing and shelter assistance.


    • Due to the health crisis, courthouses and public schools were closed statewide. In response, our Community Collaborative Advocates combined their expertise with the Advocates at our main facility and—working remotely—addressed 3,767 calls seeking our assistance from March 16, 2020 through June 30, 2020.

  • Our Friendly Visitor program connects volunteers with women who are isolated, living in nursing homes, hospitals or home-bound, unable to come to Rosie’s Place. Volunteers make regular phone calls, write letters and when possible, make socially distant visits to the same woman, providing friendship and companionship. This year, 63 marginalized women received regular visits from our dedicated volunteers.

Sep 30, 2020

Serving Smiles in our Dining Room

RP Photo Domingas
RP Photo Domingas

Report on Food Programs for Fall, 2020

We at Rosie’s Place are so grateful for your support of our critical Food Programs for poor and homeless women and their children, through GlobalGiving.

Serving Smiles in Our Dining Room:

At Rosie’s Place, we know that access to nutritious food is vital to the health and well-being of the women we serve. And now, with the risk of contracting COVID-19 especially high among vulnerable, homeless women, it is even more important that our doors are open every day with hearty, healthy meals for our guests.

Yet it’s more than the food that draws women to our Dining Room–it’s the spirit of community and unconditional love that they find here. To engage women spending the day with us, we play music and show movies. We provide art supplies and books to take away. We offer yoga sessions and organize bingo games. And, as always, our staff is here for guests with friendly conversation and support. We strive to provide sustenance not just for the body, but also for the soul.

Domingas Colston, our Food Program Shift Coordinator, is one member of our team whose good cheer helps make our Dining Room a place of welcome, respite and peace.

Whether she’s working to prepare meals or talking with guests as they enjoy those meals, Domingas is almost always smiling or about to make you smile.

Domingas came to Boston from Angola more than 20 years ago, looking for new opportunities. Once here, she –remarkably–taught herself English and found work in an organization that serves homeless people. Lucky for us, this passion to help others led her to Rosie’s Place in 2016. She told me:

I chose the work I did because it’s important to me that I feel my job has value. When I came to America, I was all alone. Many people helped me get my feet on the ground. I got so much. I want to give back.

While social distancing has changed the look of our Dining Room, the food still tastes great and the warm spirit remains. Domingas and her teammates make sure of it.

Now, more than ever, the connection we provide to our community of caring is critical for our guests. Because of your generosity, they know they can turn to and count on Rosie’s Place when so much else in their lives is uncertain. Thank you for helping us to continue nourishing our guests–in both body and soul.

Rosie’s Place Guests:
All of our guests are poor. Some of our guests are homeless, while many others work and live in housing but simply can’t make ends meet. We serve women as young as 18 and as old as 80, from as close as across the street and as far away as Lynn, Brockton and New Bedford. We estimate that about one-third of our guests have children. The guests of Rosie's Place represent a wide variety of ethnic groups, with most being African American, Hispanic, Haitian, or white. We serve a smaller number of Asian and Native American women. Some of our guests are living with HIV/AIDS or other medical conditions. Others have hidden disabilities such as addiction or mental illnesses that prevent them from effectively using mainstream services.

As Hunger Grows, So Do Our Efforts: 
Our guests have always struggled with hunger. Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, 9% of Massachusetts households experienced food insecurity; currently that figure has soared to a staggering 38% of residents. Right now, our food programs are more important than ever to women who are desperately trying to get by.

Homeless women come to Rosie’s Place tired and hungry, so we ensure that they have access to food all day long: healthy snacks, fruit, boxed lunches and hot dinners, available to eat in our Dining Room or to-go. As the number of women who find respite and support with us increases, so does the need, with our staff currently serving approximately 170 meals daily.

And more women than ever are seeking groceries they can bring home. Many of our guests are out of work and, with additional family members sheltering with them, food budgets are stretched to the limit. Because of you, Rosie’s Place can provide fresh meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables and non-perishable staples to approximately 250 women each day to help feed the more than 650 members of their households. This is more than double the number of households served pre-pandemic. Week by week, we have seen the need for this program continue to grow. In turn, we have secured new food vendors to increase our inventory. As this health crisis continues, we anticipate that the need for food will only increase. Rosie’s Place will continue striving to meet this critical need for the thousands of poor women and their children who are relying on us.

We are heartened by your past kindness and hopeful that we can count on your continued support.


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