‘Night in the Cold’ raises $20,000 for Abby’s House


‘Night in the Cold’ raises $20,000 for Abby’s House
Members of Westborough Helps the Homeless, from left: Delaney Vallee, Maggie Hanlon and Sam Nelson hold signs for “A Night in the Cold.” (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

WESTBOROUGH – A refrigerator box for a bed.

A barrel fire to ward off the chill.

For five people, for one night, it was a chance to experience what it’s like to be homeless.

For them and others, it was also a chance to raise funds and awareness about homelessness.

On the weekend of Feb. 25-26, “A Night in the Cold” took place at the Colonial Plaza’s parking lot. Close to East Main Street, several chairs surrounded a barrel fire. Along the parking lot, five refrigerator boxes served as overnight accommodations.

The weather – cold and calm with snow showers as evening arrived – was just what organizers wanted.

“This is the perfect night. It’s the kind of night that makes a statement,” said John Bogaert, who has organized the event for the past three years.

“This is so great for awareness,” said Chris Sassetti, a friend of Bogaert’s. “I’ve always loved the event.”

His son, Gray, was one of two seniors from Westborough High School (WHS) to take part in the event.

“I have some great company to do it with,” he said. “It’s for a great cause.”

Fellow WHS senior Brady Henderson agreed.

“I think it’s an important cause to be part of,” he said.

Throughout the day, people stopped by to hand over cash or to write a check.

“It’s great to have people stop by and chat for a few minutes,” said Scott Henderson, Brady’s father.

Members of the high school’s Westborough Helps the Homeless club were also on hand, holding signs along East Main to get drivers to stop and donate.

“I was in the Appalachian Service Project when I was a freshman. It inspired me to help those in need, especially the homeless,” said Maggie Hanlon, a WHS junior who founded the club.

“This is a great opportunity. I love to be part of it,” said club member Delaney Vallee.

Proceeds from the event went to benefit Abby’s House in Worcester, which provides shelter and assistance for women with and without children.

“We have seen a 78% increase in the number of people calling for shelter,” said Meghan Person, the development/communications specialist for Abby’s House. “We are definitely in need of funds and awareness.”

“We are so grateful for the members of the community to select Abby’s House,” said Kelly Whalen, the senior director for Abby’s House. “This show of love and support means a lot to the women [in the shelter].”

The following morning Bogaert reported that about $20,000 had been raised before and during the event.

To donate or for more information, visit www.donate2homeless.org.

For information on Abby’s House, visit abbyshouse.org.

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1214291972544544/


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