Shelter run by Newton church seeks donations for migrants

Ward 1 City Councilor Maria Greenberg is running a supply drive for migrants who are staying at the shelter run by Our Lady Help of Christians Parish and Catholic Charities in Nonantum.

This shelter is temporary housing for migrants and can serve up to 30 families at a time. Due to the temporary nature of it, children are not enrolled in school, so children’s books are especially needed.

“I’ve been doing it for a couple of months now, trying to find a positive way to welcome the new arrivals to our city,” said Greenberg.

She started with diapers and wipes, since many of the residents are young children. Children at the shelter range in ages from 10 months through 8 years old. The shelter’s location was initially secret, as it had been when it served victims of domestic violence.

Migrant shelters have been subject to threats of violence in other states, a reason to continue to keep its location secret.

In February, however, the shelter organizers announced its location after there were false rumors spread about violence happening at it.

“I want to make it clear to our residents that these are people in desperate need,” added Greenberg. “I know there’s a lot of fear about migrants out there.”

A 1983 law requires the state to provide shelter to pregnant women and children. Of the 7500 families currently in the state’s emergency shelter system, about half are migrants.

Greenberg praised Newton residents for their generosity.

“My whole porch was filled twice with boxes of diapers,” she said.

People who would like to donate larger size diapers, gently used children clothing, shoes and books, toys, and coloring books can bring them to her house at 108 Adams St.

The shelter is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that includes security personnel. It began operating last November and will continue through May.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) and United Way of Massachusetts Bay have been working together to find overflow shelter space for families, and reached out to Catholic Charities to ask if they had any additional space. Because the domestic violence shelter had previously been closed, they had room in Nonantum.

You can give online to Catholic Charities Boston.