The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Brookline Cares: spreading socks, coats and love

Brookline Cares visits the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program in fall of 2023. They provided socks, coats, and supplies to homeless people in grater Boston.

On a single night in January 2022, 582,462 Americans experienced homelessness, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Brookline Cares aims to help the homeless population in Boston in any way they can.

Brookline Cares started as a student-run volunteer organization and recently became a club. It was founded in 2021 during COVID when homelessness increased at rapid rates according to director Gracie Benavidez. The club raises awareness and funds to support those experiencing homelessness in the Boston area.

After some of the Brookline Cares founders—Eliot Arnold ‘23, Gabriel Benavidez ‘23, Timothy Lee ‘23, Ellery Nistler ‘23 and Sean O’Leary ‘23—graduated, they handed the organization down to their younger siblings and now-directors: freshman Malcolm Arnold, junior Gracie Benavidez, junior Zack Lee, sophomore Theo Nistler and sophomore Blake O’Leary.

Zack Lee said he was eager to help take over the organization after having watched his brother help the homeless community.

“You could see the change right in front of you, it really inspired me to want to make a change too,” Zack Lee said.

Brookline Cares raises money through fundraising events within Brookline, including an annual ice skating event every February. They have raised about $15,000 over the last three years, which they have used to buy Empowerment Coats and Bombas socks, clothes designed to help homeless people keep warm.

Empowerment Coats, made by an organization called The Empowerment Plan, are a combination of a coat and a sleeping bag, and they are helpful in all sorts of weather. Zack Lee said that with the production of the coats, the organization employs previously homeless and homeless people.

“It’s not just helping the person who receives the coat, but it’s also helping people who are homeless to get back on their feet,” Zack Lee said.

Brookline Cares recently made a delivery to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program where they distributed five boxes of coats and socks. Currently, they are trying to set up another delivery with the Boston Medical Center. Blake O’Leary said by delivering the coats and socks themselves, she feels as though they are making an impact in the community.

“When you deliver the coats to these places you can see, not exactly who you’re helping, but the general idea of it,” Blake O’Leary said.

Gracie Benavidez said the organization has allowed her to give back to the community in a more active way than simply making a donation. She said she encourages others to join because of the rewarding work they do.

“It’s a really good opportunity to show that you care,” Gracie Benavidez said. “It shows that you want to be a more active part of helping the homeless community.”

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