By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Last year a small group of people had a big vision of what could be accomplished if they worked together to help those in need with food, practical resources, entertainment and friendship. The day-long “Convoy of Hope” event was held in October at Stevens Park, off Broad Street, in the French Hill area of the Marlborough.
“And it all worked,” said Pastor Deborah Kerr of New Hope Community Church in Marlborough, coordinator of this year's Convoy of Hope to be held again in October.
“Over 1,000 people received a hand of compassion and hope and I expect the number to at least double this year,” she said.
Her enthusiasm and sincere thoughts of continuing success were based on the dedicated response of local church leaders and members, business employees, city employees and individuals who attended a lunch held June 4 to kick off the event and begin the planning process. Mayor Arthur Vigeant has pledged his support and offered assistance wherever needed.
Residents of the French Hill area and other guests of honor received lunch, haircuts, family portraits, clothing, shoes, groceries, medical screenings, and other supplies. Many visited the social services tent which connected people with helpful programs as well as the prayer tent for spiritual guidance.
Bob Kays, owner of the Prospector Bar and Grill on Lincoln Street, will return with his team and provide hot dogs and hamburgers again this year. Cindy Zomar, representing Assabet Valley Regional Technical School, offered to help solicit donations of footwear as Kerr stated that last year's sponsor was unable to participate this year.
Tony Evangelous, a Marlborough Police Department Community Policing member in the French Hill area, had high praise for the successful event conducted last year in which he participated.
“I am looking forward to taking part again this year as I saw firsthand how much everyone enjoyed the day. They got so pleased with a haircut, a pair of shoes, and just enjoying a stress-free day,” he said.
Convoy of Hope was founded in 1994. The goal of the faith-based, international, humanitarian relief organization is to bring help and hope to those who are impoverished, hungry and hurting. Many are working families living in, or on the fringes of, poverty.
Jason Bachman, outreach director for Convoy of Hope, spoke at the kick-off luncheon.
“Our goal is that every guest be valued, respected and treated as a guest of honor,” he said. “We want people to see potential instead of poverty by telling them that hope starts here. We may not be able to change the choices people make, but we can definitely increase the choices that they have.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation may send it to Marlborough Convoy of Hope, 204 Main St., Marlborough, MA 01752. For additional information or to volunteer as an individual or group, contact Kerr at 508-277-0240.