To the editor:
This is a giving time of year, between Thanksgiving and the holiday season, a time of hope and community. That was certainly the case last week when the Grace Center received a wonderful surprise gift of extra winter space for our guests through the generosity of Lenny Linquata of the Gloucester House.
As the cold weather months were approaching, Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken became concerned about the increase in need, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, for safe warm daytime spaces for unhoused and vulnerable persons in our communities. She began scouting around for additional space. Meanwhile, Mr. Linquata independently approached state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and our mayor with an idea for using his function space and kitchen at the Gloucester House for Grace Center guests during the winter months when he would be closed. The mayor and Mr. Linquata invited Jason Etheridge, the executive director of our Grace Center parent organization, Lifebridge North Shore, to consider using The Gloucester House as a winter location as it provides more space for guests, allowing us to serve 35 people seven days a week with extended hours as necessary. We are thrilled by this opportunity and delighted to accept it.
At the end of the winter, we will return to our home at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, whose leadership has been supportive of our move but eager to have us return in the spring. We thank them for their steadfast support of our mission. But for now, Lenny Linquata has once again stepped up to help those among us who are in need; Mayor Sefatia has once again demonstrated that vision and determination make good things happen. We are grateful to all who made this partnership possible, especially to the mayor for her ongoing support of the Grace Center, our guests and extraordinary staff, who took the move in stride with good humor, and to Lenny Linquata and his family for their warm, compassionate hearts and generous invitation.
Rev. Anne Deneen
Grace Center Advisory Committee