It’s been some 15 months now since the Grace Center stepped into a very real breech by providing daytime shelter and services to Gloucester and Cape Ann’s homeless and needy — an important consideration given that the Action Inc. shelter opens only at 5 p.m.
But while the center, which rotates among Trinity Congregational Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Unitarian Universalist Church, has taken significant strides in serving the community, it has not hosted a major community-wide event — until now.
On Saturday, the Grace Center program is coordinating a candlelight vigil with an eye toward raising awareness of the center’s work and the community’s ongoing and still-growing needs. Titled “Glow with Grace,” the planned march will begin at 7:15 p.m. at Gloucester High School, with walkers heading down to and along Stacy Boulevard, and then returning to the high school. Registration will run from 6 to 7 p.m. in the GHS field house, and LED candles will be distributed for the march.
The event will help raise needed money for the Grace Center; while the vigil is free, donations will be accepted. But this is more than a traditional fund-raiser. It is aimed at raising awareness within the community that the issue of homelessness is very real in Gloucester, and that groups such as the Grace Center, Action Inc., The Open Door and others need the commitment of the entire community to tackle this crisis in need.
Let’s hope this vigil and the center draw the kind of community support they deserve.