North Star (formerly MIHN)
North Star (formerly the MIHN), a member of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Worcester (IHN) works in partnership with the faith community to provide shelter and assistance to families with children that are homeless. The program’s primary goals are to assist families in increasing their income and to help them secure permanent housing.
In 2003, a member of Pilgrim Congregational Church, Bonnie Hathaway saw the need for services in our community for homeless families. Bonnie approached our church with the solution of joining forces with Interfaith Hospitality Network. The Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network, Inc. (MIHN) started out housing homeless families in local churches and organizations on a rotating basis. Moving families each week was not ideal and concerns over fire and building codes brought everyone to the realization that a more permanent solution was necessary.
After a few short-term solutions, a permanent location was established in its current location in North Leominster with the help of a private donor who helped secure funds. Currently 15 local churches and organization from Leominster, Fitchburg, Lancaster and Leominster are involved on a rotating basis. Each organization can expect approximately 3-4 rotations during the year. In 2019, MIHN formerly became known as North Star Family Services, inc. (https://northstarfs.org/)
Currently, during COVID-19, our connection with residents is minimal to protect everyone involved. A grocery list of lunch and household staples is sent to the church coordinators from North Star just prior to our rotation. Our current responsibility is to shop for the items on the list and arrange for a hot evening meal to be delivered during our rotation week. A contact-free drop off facilities has been established to protect residents and volunteers alike. Pilgrim utilizes the Meal Train app to organize and arrange nightly meal delivery during our week. Donations to support this initiative in the form of cash donations or gift cards to Market Basket for those unable to provide a meal are appreciated. If anyone is interested in participating, please contact Laura Horgan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.