Some of us may not even realize the grave disparities that exist in our own communities. For instance, did you know that in Massachusetts, 616,090 people are struggling with hunger and, of them, 159,950 are children? While there are charitable programs, sometimes those do not always fill the gap. That’s why today, our community spotlight is the Citizens Inn in Peabody, Massachusetts. 

Every month, we look to the amazing businesses and nonprofits around our North Shore neighborhoods to spotlight. This month, we are proud to showcase the work being done to end homelessness and hunger across our region at the Citizen Inn and Haven from Hunger in Peabody, Massachusetts.

For 36 years Citizens Inn, Inc., now merged with Haven From Hunger, has focused on helping families and individuals experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.  

Citizens Inn operates on the belief that everyone deserves safety, dignity, and hope. Using several spaces around Peabody, they are able to focus on differing needs. For example, they house 34 families experiencing homelessness between their two shelter programs, Citizens Inn Between and Citizens Inn Transition.  Through their Citizens Inn Homes program, they offer affordable housing units and case management for families who have moved into permanent housing. At Citizens Inn Haven from Hunger, they distribute over 1.6 million pounds of food annually to folks in Peabody, Salem, and Lynnfield, as well as providing nearly 16,000 meals in the last 12 months through their community meals program. 

Not only do these multi-pronged programs help accommodate those who need a safe place to stay and a warm meal to eat, but also empowers families and individuals to find permanent solutions to break the patterns of instability in their lives. Here at Phil Richard Insurance, we are proud to help support and volunteer as a business to these incredibly worthwhile programs. 

“We’re so grateful for the support of the community,” said Gianna Langis, development officer at Citizens Inn. “We absolutely would not be able to do what we do without all of the volunteers, donors, and supporters. Our mission really focuses on breaking the patterns of instability that lead to homelessness and hunger. ” 

Citizens Inn goes above and beyond helping the community and even reacting in real-time to events that may be negatively impacting families and individuals who are facing food insecurity. During the recent Stop and Shop strike when many families were forced to choose between paying bills or buying food for their family members, Haven From Hunger reacted in real-time by providing free pop-up food pantries in Salem and the surrounding community for those who were facing food insecurity. 

Citizens Inn Haven From Hunger relies on monetary and food donations, volunteers, and the task of rescuing food from supermarkets, cafes, wholesale stores, and restaurants that are considered either surplus or close to the “sell” date. If you would like to get involved at Citizens Inn, there are many ways that you can contribute. They are always looking for individuals to assist at the food pantry as clients browse through the wide variety of fresh produce, bakery items, meats, and canned goods. They also always need people to keep the shelves stocked and help to unload the food rescue deliveries. If neither of these actions is within your ability, you could organize a food drive at your office, or help cook and serve food for guests on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays from 3:30-7:00. And they are always appreciative of monetary donations as well. You can find out more about the amount and gift information here. 

For more information on any of these programs in our community check out the website or contact Citizens Inn at 978-531-9775.