Project Just Because Serves Ashland Residents in NeedJan 29, 2021 09:15AM ● By Cynthia Whitty
Barbara Christensen sells masks she makes at the Hopkinton Farmers’ Market with proceeds going to Project Just Because. (Photo/supplied)
The effects of the global pandemic are being felt everywhere, including Metrowest. According to Frontiers in Public Health, “the pandemic has direct impacts on income due to premature deaths, workplace absenteeism, and reduction in productivity and has created a negative supply shock, with manufacturing productive activity slowing down due to global supply chain disruptions and closures of factories.”
Social services organizations are working hard to keep up with the increasing need of many families. One Ashland resident, Barbara Christensen, works as a volunteer part of every week with a local organization, Project Just Because in Hopkinton.
“In early 2016. I was no longer working and wanted to find an organization where I could volunteer,” Christensen said. “I had purchased items for the PJB holiday wish list inthe past, and began to go to PJB one day a week. I enjoyed it very much, and now spend 2-4 days a week. There is always so much to do, and I enjoy working with the other volunteers. I have been able to procure Bomba’s socks, Operation Warm Coat, and a Trader Joe’s food share. I also enjoy helping with the fundraisers. With Covid, I have been making masks to generate funds for PJB. I am close to $10,000 donated!”
Food for Residents
PJB is run out of Hopkinton and serves the surrounding area. The Massachusetts Pantry (a statewide food pantry) is open to residents from any town. Ashland residents can go to PJB for food Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. “The available food varies quite a bit as it is donation-based, but there’s boxed and canned goods, bakery goods, protein, and produce,” Christensen said. “In the summer, there’s donations from the farmers’ market as well. Ashland residents can also get clothing, toiletries, coats, household items, and shoes. This [pantry] is donation-based, and not all items are always available, but whatever is there is for anyone in need.”
A gluten-free market open to any Massachusetts resident and The Hopkinton Food Pantry are also located inside PJB.
Other Services Available
PJB is also a referral center for domestic abuse through the MA 211 Program. In addition, PJB provides clothing, shoes, small household items, and toiletries year round. Christensen said, “There are seasonal programs, including back-to-school filled backpacks, holiday gifts, ‘Keep a Family Warm’ (coats, boots, mittens and hats), Valentine’s Day, Easter, and more. Baskets of Love are available for cancer patients or other people in need. PJB also helps other organizations when possible with donations of Bomba’s Socks, food, toiletries, and gifts, including local shelters, pantries, and churches that help those in need.”
PJB has seen an increase in need due to Covid. “So many families are in need right now,” Christensen said. “PJB was able to add the Mass Pantry to its offerings. The goal of this pantry is that anyone in need in Massachusetts can walk in, make their food list, and get food right away. Food is distributed without contact, so it is safe for everyone to pick up. The increase in orders for clothing, household items, and warm coats has increased as well.”
Christensen said PJB is always looking for donations. With Covid restrictions, PJB is limiting donations to food and clothing, especially warm coats, toiletries, warm bedding, and diapers. Money is also needed to buy the items that are not donated and pay for PJB’s operating expenses.
Donations can be made through PayPal on the website, projectjustbecause.org, or by mailing a check to PJB, 109 South Street, Hopkinton, MA 01748. Volunteers are always needed to help fill orders, pick up items, inventory, and sort and put away donations.
“Any family in need should feel comfortable reaching out to PJB for help, whether it’s for food, clothing or other basic necessities,´ Christensen added. “Requests are confidential, and everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”