Local Collaborative Effort Touches Homeless Communities in Greater Haverhill and Greater Newburyport

Local Collaborative Effort Touches Homeless Communities in Greater Haverhill and Greater Newburyport

I would like to take a moment and share with you a project that we are doing to help and support those who live outdoors. Today, folks may find themselves in situations, or struggles that are far out of their control. Things that can drastically change and affect their life – sometimes even leaving them living outdoors.

A volunteer group called Merrimack Valley Hope Mission provides bagged lunches to these folks on a weekly basis every Friday afternoon at a park in Haverhill Mass. On Friday August 31 we are looking to not just provide them with a bag lunch, but also some hygiene products.

Maintaining personal hygiene is extremely important for several reasons. Keeping a good standard of hygiene helps to prevent the development and spread of infections, illnesses and helps maintain a good level of mental and physical well-being. Hygiene products are one of the most sought after items by our friends who live outdoors.

I’m reaching out to you today to see if you would consider sponsoring a hygiene kit for either a man or woman. We have organized a gift list on Amazon that have kits for less then $15 and the location for which the kits need to be shipped to is already set. Your support is appreciated by many and will make a huge difference in the life of an individual who lives outdoors.

Thank you for your time and consideration!!

Amazon Link to sponsor Hygiene Bags :


Yankee Homecoming Veterans Luncheon 2018

Yankee Homecoming Veterans Luncheon 2018


The 2018 Yankee Homecoming Committee is excited to announce the Annual Yankee Homecoming Veteran Luncheon. This luncheon aims to bring our Veterans and their guests together to make new friends, provide on-going resources, and to acknowledge the service that our Veterans gave to this great country. The Veteran Luncheon will be located at the Hope Community Church, 11 Hale Street, Newburyport, MA on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 from 12 noon – 2 pm. We would like the community to extend a special thanks to our luncheon sponsors: Fairway Mortgage, Hampton by Hilton, and Domino’s Pizza.

The program of the luncheon is as follows: Ret. Brigadier General Paul G. Smith will be the Master of Ceremonies for the luncheon. The Guest of Honor is Army Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Zeke Crozier of Handy-Cappin’ will speak about his service related injury and the power of art therapy and recovery. There will be number of guests speaking and sharing about Veteran Resources, Benefits, Programs and their Military Service. Challenge Coins will be gifted to Veterans during a special presentation ceremony. 

The Veteran Luncheon has been hosted during Yankee Homecoming for the last 10 years, and managed by Korean War Veteran, Frank Ventura. “Our Veterans are our own National Treasures,” shared local resident and Yankee Homecoming Committee Member Donald Jarvis. “Whether returning recently or during WWII where are eldest Veterans are from – we thank our Veterans for their service and honor them for continuing to share their stories and love for country.”

Further details of the luncheon’s programming are as follow: 

Master of Ceremonies: Brigadier General (retired) Paul G. Smith


Brigadier General Smith served as Assistant Adjutant General and Land Component Commander of the Massachusetts National Guard from 2012 to 2014. He commanded Joint Task Force Massachusetts during numerous emergencies including the Western Massachusetts Tornado, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, Winter Storms Nemo and Saturn, and the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. His duties also included Army force development initiatives, such as suicide prevention, drug abuse reduction, sexual assault prevention, resiliency building, and development of diversity programs. He was instrumental in developing United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Republic of Paraguay. During his 35-year military career, he commanded forces at the platoon, company, battalion, and brigade levels. General Smith is a 2005 graduate of the United States Army War College and has served as a visiting instructor there since 2006.

Guest of Honor: Army Staff Sergeant (Retired) Zeke Crozier of Handy-Cappin LLC

Staff Sergeant (Retired) ‘Zeke’ Crozier joined the United States Army in 2004 and served a full nine years. Zeke deployed to Pakistan, Africa, and twice to Afghanistan. In 2011, Zeke was in country only 41 days when his helicopter crashed, and he was severely injured. This life-threatening injury left him retired young and uncertain of his future, until an unknown passion became art therapy. That therapy turned into a business called Handy-Cappin. Zeke donates many pieces to national charities. His artwork brings people happiness and hope, as he continues to serve in a different way. On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, Zeke Crozier’s artwork will be featured at the Inn Street Artisans Revival where his artwork will be displayed and sold.

Challenge Coins 

Each year, the Yankee Homecoming Committee present a special token of appreciation to our Veteran’s. This year a custom Yankee Homecoming Challenge Coin has been made to present to every Veteran as a token of appreciation. Traditionally, Challenge Coins are a symbol of hard work and a job well done — a token of thanks for the achievements in a soldier’s life. Each Challenge Coin has its own story. 

Any questions regarding the Veteran Luncheon, please email Donald Jarvis at Veterans@yankeehomecoming.com

Please note the change in venue. At times, some Veteran’s may struggle with dependency and PTSD challenges. The committee has opted to choose a venue which allows for the greatest level of safety for our Veterans, and most handicap accessible. Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our Veterans.

About Yankee Homecoming 

Yankee Homecoming is a week of innovation, talent and energy that fills Newburyport featuring a broad range of events and exciting activities. This annual celebration offers fun and exciting events for all. Local Newburyport residents and thousands of visitors descend upon Newburyport, allowing performers, artists, vendors and small business owners a chance to shine. From downtown entertainment, fireworks and more, there is no shortage of family-friendly activities to explore throughout the week, including free waterfront concerts, theatrical performances and food vendors serving the best New England bites. For more information, visit http://yankeehomecoming.com

Thanks to our Sponsors

Merrimack Valley Hope Mission – Winter Outreach

What a truly amazing day it was today at GAR Park in Haverhill. Merrimack Valley Hope Mission was able hand out personal hygiene products (covering everything from toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, razors and more), sweat shirts, pants, socks, sneakers, backpacks, over 100 pairs of new Timberland boots, about 150 sandwiches, couple cases of MRE’s, blankets, sleeping bags, quilts, and so much more. This was all made possible by over 100 different resources and people donating stuff

On top of all of this it was truly great to be able to connect with and learn about 5 homeless veterans that are either living in someone’s shed, or on the streets in Haverhill. Looking forward to connecting them to different resources and benefits to help get them back on their feet.

Everyone who was part of today we made it special for a lot of people. Over 100 people made a positive impact on so many in a way that none of us may ever understand. Thank you Joe D’Amore for starting Merrimack Valley Hope Mission… and bringing us all together! I am honored and privileged to be able to help.

Santa Visits, Veterans Wreaths, and a Christmas Party at a Celtics Game. December 2017

Community Santa Home Visits in Newburyport and area Selective Dates in December (1 – 24)

Don’t miss the opportunity for your child to have Santa, Mrs. Claus or one of Santa’s Elves stop by for a home visit. Santa will be taking time out of his busy schedule to visit good children in the Greater Newburyport Area. The visitors from the North Pole will arrives with gifts, take some Santa Selfies and photographs, and listen to the children’s wish lists. The Santa Home Visits program has been running for three years in the Newburyport and surrounding area. Another similar Santa gift giving group in the area is Ozzie’s Kids in Haverhill who delivers more than 600 gifts each year to Haverhill’s residents. Visit http://www.CommunitySanta.org and Message Santa’s Elves to schedule your special visit

Newbury Wreath Laying Ceremony — Saturday, December 16 at 11 am

Remember. Honor. Teach. On Saturday, December 16th at 11 am, we are seeking volunteers to place wreaths on Veteran gravestones at seven Newbury Burial Grounds and Cemeteries. To volunteer in the wreath laying ceremony, help place the wreaths in the cemeteries, or other volunteer needs leading up Wreath Day please contact us at newburywreaths@gmail.com.

Boston Celtics Acknowledge Vietnam Veterans on December 23.

This year, the Boston Celtics are hosting a special event celebrating the heroism and acknowledging the service of more than two dozen Vietnam Veterans. Nominate your favorite Vietnam Veteran (can self-nominate or a loved one can nominate) to be entered into a lottery to win one of sixteen tickets. The featured game is on Saturday December 23 at the TD Garden with the Boston Celtics taking on the Chicago Bulls. Requests can be submitted via email to Don Jarvis at jarvis.don@gmail.com or to Andrew LaCourse at andrew.lacourse@comcast.net.

Volunteerism: A Viable Resource for Newbury

Tonight I went before the Newbury Board of Selectmen to ask them to consider adopting Mass General Law – Chapter 59 Section 5N ‘Reduction of Property Tax Obligation of Veteran in Exchange for Volunteer Services’. For the town to adopt this section it will need to go before Town Meeting for vote. I did ask the Board of Selectmen to consider moving forward and encouraged them to form a ‘work group’ with various stakeholders including myself.

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Memorial Day 2017

Someone asked me how was my Memorial Day weekend was today. To be honest, Sunday made the weekend for me. Seeing a young 12 year old so engaged in wanting to clean and reset a Civil War soldier headstone. There was no short cuts, she wanted to be part of digging it out, cleaning it, putting the dirt back in, making sure it was straight and put the flag holder back. On top of that she asked questions about the stone, the procedure, and the veteran himself. It was truly great to watch it all unfold. A volunteer from Preserving Newbury, Tracey who did an amazing job working with the 12 year old all day. It was truly a blessing to witness. This was a great way to pay respect to this veteran for Memorial Day. 🇺🇸

It’s all about Honor and Respect

As Memorial Day approaches things are happening around the Town of Newbury. Flags for the veterans’ graves have been ordered, walks around the ceremonies have been and are being conducted, and for the first time ever – veterans graves are being cleaned and reset (if needed).

A newly formed group, Preserving Newbury, which consist of the volunteers who spearheaded the much need major clean up project at the First Parish Burying Ground. Since handing over the day-to-day upkeep and maintenance work back to the First Parish Church – these volunteers still wanted to continue doing preservation work, and work preserving the past, the future and the history of Town of Newbury.

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Pubic Education on Service Dogs – Much Needed

As the number of people with service dogs grow, so does the need for education on service dogs. For years dogs have been trained to provide a service to individuals with disabilities, to include guide dogs, hearing dogs, and mobility dogs. Today, dogs are being trained as service dogs for our veterans with who have PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). As the use of service dogs are increasing I feel it is equally important to increase the education of service dogs.

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