Winter Newsletter

December 2023


Seasons Greetings, everyone!

We're so grateful for all the ways you, our supporters, have been giving back to the community this holiday season, and for the tremendous generosity you demonstrated this Giving Tuesday.

Thanks to you, we're much closer to our year-end fundraising goal, but we're still hoping for a few final donations to get us over the finish line and allow us to kick off 2024 with all the resources we need to continue providing our full array of anti-poverty services in 9 languages.

Please donate today if you haven't already and use the buttons at the bottom to share this newsletter with friends. We thank you for including CEOC in your annual giving, and we're looking forward to a prosperous 2024 for all of our Cambridge neighbors. Be sure to read all the good news and updates below!

With gratitude,

Tina Alu, Executive Director

Yes, I want to contribute!

CEOC Awarded Multi-Year United Way Grant

CEOC has been selected as one of 124 beneficiaries of the new United Way of Massachusetts Bay initiative dedicating more than $56 million to cutting-edge programs at 124 community-based organizations through 2030.

This transformative grant will play a pivotal role in CEOC’s efforts to expand financial education and empowerment in our community, providing $50,000 a year for three years, with the opportunity for four additional years of funding.

Over the next year, CEOC will train eight facilitators, fluent in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Amharic, and Bangla, to provide peer-led financial education sessions with a CEOC Financial Coach in their respective communities. This exciting new pilot program is based on CEOC’s successful “HIV Safety Net Party” model used to teach reproductive health.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the United Way of Massachusetts Bay for enabling these meaningful steps toward a more financially resilient and empowered future for Cambridge residents.

CCF Grants Assist with Increased Food Pantry Demand

When CEOC's North Cambridge food pantry opened in 2021, about 80 patrons visited per day. Currently that number is up to around 180 per day, with an even higher spike to 257 during Thanksgiving week.

The Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) is helping CEOC respond to the increased demand through their new Food Access and Security Initiative—with two generous grants of $50,000 per year each for three years. The first grant will support the Cambridge Food Pantry Network through a three-year emergency food system evaluation, in partnership with More Than Food Consulting. The second supports food purchasing and a part-time pantry staff member, as well as gift cards and halal meat vouchers.

Participants Begin the Journey to Hope

CEOC's Wellness Support Service, Journey to Hope, enrolled its first three participants since launching in October with a three-year grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. Based on the World Health Organization's "Problem Management Plus" curriculum, Journey to Hope includes five sessions, and staff are already observing the beneficial effects. "Talking with you every week has given me encouragement and hope," commented one recent participant, adding, "This program has helped me a lot."

Pictured, from left to right, are program leaders Jenny Andre-Jean, Rachel Plummer, and Yemi Kibret. To make an appointment, please call 617-868-2900.

Hoarding Intervention Specialist & Professional Organizer Joins the Team

Please join us in welcoming CEOC's new Hoarding Intervention Specialist and Professional Organizer, Shannon Fegan. Shannon transitioned from years in the pharmaceutical industry to help individuals create organized and safe living spaces. According to Shannon, her journey in this field began with "a sincere desire to help individuals transform their living environments," and it has evolved into "a dedicated mission to enhance the overall well-being" of those she serves. In her spare time, Shannon teaches yoga, commenting that "the mindfulness in yoga extends into my organizing work, where I integrate the principles of clarity and purpose to create environments that support both mental and physical health." Welcome, Shannon!

Cambridge Economic

Opportunity Committee


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