WORCESTER – A group of nearly 100 volunteers will gather at the First Congregational Church in West Boylston on Saturday, Jan. 13 to fill 100 backpacks for Worcester County’s homeless population.

The backpacks will be handed out to individuals at the homeless shelter at Hotel Grace in the basement of St. John’s Church on Temple St. The shelter is run by pastors John Madden and Richard Gonzalez.

“We have backpacks, blankets, Mylar emergency blankets, hats, gloves, socks, underwear, hand and foot warmers, toiletries, snacks and gift cards to Dunkin’ Donuts and Miss Worcester Diner, said organizer Andrea Castinetti.

Castinetti formed the Facebook group “Help for Homeless in Worcester County” to organize other volunteers and to generate donations from local businesses and individuals.

“We are having a pizza party for our volunteers on Saturday and we had about 14 local businesses donate from places like Wicked Good Cookies to United Bank,” Castinetti said.

“The event is kid-friendly and I am having a face painter come in and we are having an arts and crafts table so we can write inspirational notes to the homeless,” she added.

Ultimately, Castinetti said, the event is to raise awareness for the local homeless population  and to get them more donations and volunteers.

“One small idea grew into something huge. Everyone is very excited about it,” Castinetti said.

For more details, see the flyer below:


About Patrick Sargent

Patrick Sargent is the founder and lead reporter for ThisWeekinWorcester.com. He was born and raised on Grafton Hill and is a graduate of Holy Name high school and Worcester State University. Over the past two years, he worked as a contributing reporter for the Worcester Sun. Previous to that, over the course of several years, he had stints with GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Magazine, the Leominster Champion and Fitchburg Pride. He is the owner of Sargent Media, LLC and can be contacted at [email protected] or 774-232-1223.

One Response to “100 Backpacks for Worcester’s Homeless: Local Volunteers Seek to Help City’s Less Fortunate”

  1. Toby

    This is amazing I find it funny the city of worcester puts out there fake articles saying homelessness in worcester is down 0% but I see otherwise everyday glad your there supporting people who need help.


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