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Circle of Hope brings families together

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Needham-based nonprofit Circle of Hope hosted its second annual family event, Full Circle, Saturday morning on Needham Town Common.

Each child received a “Passport of Giving” and collected stamps as they moved through different stations created by Circle of Hope Board Vice Chair Clair Windsor and her leadership team, Claire Steigner, Christine Holland, and Stephanie Matern. At each station, kids completed an engaging, hands-on activity designed to support homeless individuals and teach children about homelessness in age-appropriate ways.

A child traces her hand onto a backpack, which will later be given to a homeless adult, at the ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ station.

A child traces her hand onto a backpack, which will later be given to a homeless adult, at the ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ station.

A Full Circle participant proudly displays her ‘I made a difference today’ sticker and the donation jar she decorated.

A Full Circle participant proudly displays her ‘I made a difference today’ sticker and the donation jar she decorated.

Full Circle volunteers help children pack backpacks full of winter essentials for homeless adults.

Full Circle volunteers help children pack backpacks full of winter essentials for homeless adults.

At the ‘Collection Corner’ station, kids decorated their own donation jars, where they can save money to donate later.

At the ‘Collection Corner’ station, kids decorated their own donation jars, where they can save money to donate later.

Nearly 300 children and parents attended Full Circle this year. Together, they assembled “Dignity Bags” full of toiletries at the “Basics Brigade” station. Circle of Hope volunteers will distribute these bags to homeless individuals and families throughout Boston and Metro West within the next ten days. At the “Winter Warmup” station, families bundled together winter hats, mittens, scarves, and socks for homeless children living in Circle of Hope partner shelters. Children also filled 150 backpacks with socks, emergency blankets, and other essentials for homeless adults, decorated their own donation bags and piggy banks to collect donations, and created flags depicting things they are grateful for in their families.

With a 25 percent increase in family homelessness in Boston last year, “there’s never been a more important time for families to help,” said Circle of Hope Executive Director Barbara Waterhouse. “I couldn’t be more grateful to Clair Windsor and her team for creating Full Circle and offering local families an opportunity to help.” Circle of Hope serves 4,700 homeless individuals per year through its partnerships with 21 shelters, clinics, and programs in the area.

Those interested in supporting Circle of Hope can drop off donations of clothing and toiletries at 65 Rosemary Street in Needham. Donation hours can be found on the website at www.circleofhopeonline.org.

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