Every night, rain or shine, workday or holiday, between 60 and 110 people come to the Bristol Kitchen. At 5:00 P.M. we provide a hot nutritious meal prepared and served by volunteers. In addition to our hot meal program, 18,000 sandwiches are prepared annually for the homeless. A cold weather policy allows guests to enter the kitchen at 2:30 P.M. and during that time, coffee and snacks are provided. Although the kitchen is funded in part by Community Development Block Grants, it is not funded by any state agency and relies heavily on volunteers, donated food and paper products from local businesses, churches, schools, and individual residents of Waltham and surrounding communities.
MHSA was founded in 1977 by a group of community leaders with one program, the Middlesex Detox. It was in 1984 when the need to expand services was evident, especially to the homeless population. The agency grew to many programs that provide food and shelter for people who are homeless; drug and alcohol treatment; and social service programs. MHSA’s programs include: Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen; Bristol Lodge Men’s and Women’s shelters; Mary’s House Family Shelter; Scattered Sites; TAP; D.U.I.L.; and two halfway houses known as Answer House & Sullivan House. Services include substance abuse recovery homes and inpatient alcohol education and treatment; shelter, food, housing search, permanent placement and stabilization assistance for people who are homeless.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life and independent functioning of a wide variety of people through the delivery of an extensive system of community based substance abuse and social service programs. Although our programs are many and varied, all emphasize dignity, respect and empowerment for the people we serve. We believe in teaching individuals and families the skill and problem solving abilities needed for self sufficiency. In order to achieve its mission, MHSA has established the following goals:
-To provide sufficient meals and food to feed the hungry
-To secure permanent, affordable housing for our shelter and scattered site residents
-To offer the appropriate support services enabling client to function independently
To achieve these objectives, MHSA staff provides a variety of specialized and essential services designed to create a supportive environment. MHSA offers short and long term solutions to people who are homeless.
· The Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen is the only one in our region
· There are no requirements to access the kitchen
· The only restriction is for being under the influence or violent behavior
· Open 365 days a year
· Site serves as a place where people can provide community service
· Resourcefulness of MHSA staff to secure food donations
“Joe” was down on his luck, lost his job, was losing his family and friends and turned to alcohol to dull the pain. After many months of self destructive behavior, he came to stay in our men’s shelter. With counseling and support he stopped drinking, and began volunteering for us. He soon became a paid part time staff member and eventually moved out of the shelter into his own apartment. Shortly after he became a full time staff person and worked for the agency until he retired at the age of 72.
The Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen is always in need of projects which include food and new clothing drives; collection of paper goods; holiday gift collections and personal toiletries collections.
© 2013 Jewish Causes of Choice, Inc. All rights reserved. Jewish Causes of
Choice, Inc. is a non-profit organization exempt under the 501(c) section of the
internal revenue code.
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