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Dear Friend of MAAP

We hope that you and everyone you love is well. This is a trying time in so many ways.  Our hope is that you are finding a way to prioritize your health in the most realistic and complete ways possible. 

We are writing because we want to authentically share with you how and what MAAP is doing. We are a really small grassroots organization in the middle of a global pandemic, information is changing rapidly, and we are always very careful not to speak for people experiencing homelessness. And, yet we know if we don’t speak up no one will say the obvious: the Commonwealth doesn’t have a plan for people experiencing homelessness but especially for those living unsheltered.

MAAP is a small but important grassroots organization. With your help we can make a difference. More people will be unsheltered in the coming days. We know this. Two seasonal shelters told MAAP community members, including many young people, they will be closing weeks early—  potentially as soon as next week. On Thursday, staff provided people with survival supplies and had challenging conversations with young people about sleeping young; a long-time volunteer was there and quickly went to Target to purchase tents and tarps for them.  We are both heartbroken and outraged on their behalf.

Right now, MAAP has a waiting list for tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags. People have less and less access to very basic things in a pandemic:  clean running water, toilets, food, and places to sleep.  

Here’s how we’re making a difference:
  1. Controlling what we can: we have put in place a system to make the best decisions we can as a small grassroots organization. Each Sunday, we’ll make a Board/Staff decision based on the information we have and the needs community members have identified about our services for the coming week with the full transparency that that could change daily as we monitor external conditions and our resources.  
  2. Moving our support outside: we will be outside the Friends Meeting at Cambridge offering material aid to people experiencing homelessness during our regular hours. We are also working to be able to provide food, cell phone charging, and laptop usage to people. Despite social distancing, we are hoping to continue to be a place where people feel a sense of connection and belonging even if that is from six feet away. 
Here's how you can make a difference:
  • We need to immediately raise $25,000 for staff support and increased material aid. It’s our 75th anniversary and we were going to hold a Spring celebration. We are now canceling that fundraising celebration. We are instead asking that you give online
  • We have an Emergency Wishlist here. CDC guidance says that soft goods are a very low transmission risk if you are not sick and if all materials have been washed and dried. We can accept them at MAAP on Tuesday or Thursday between 9 and 3. You can also buy items off of our Amazon wishlist. (Please use Amazon smile now and always for your purchases!)
  • Please forward this email to five friends with a personal note asking them to contribute to our emergency campaign.
This week over 60 community members stopped by to get material aid, access resources, get new phones, charge their phones, grab something to eat, join our bi-weekly advocacy meal and gather around our coffee table to problem solve during these challenging times. Executive Director Cassie Hurd and Program and Outreach Coordinator Nora Sullivan talked to people about how to best reach us if MAAP closed, about their urgent needs, and shared best practices in health and safety practices. So many expressed their desire to be in touch and the urgent need for maintained support. 

Mary, a MAAP participant, said it best when she described MAAP as a “destination” for those unhoused needing support. We’re going to do our best to continue to be a destination during a global pandemic. 

Wash your hands. Check in on your neighbors -- both housed and unhoused. Please make a financial contribution today.
If you have further questions about MAAP, our response to COVID-19, or making a financial contribution, you can reach Cassie Hurd at

With gratitude and hope,       
Sarah Casey
Chair, Board of Directors
Michelle Kweder
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors
P.S. Did you make a contribution to our emergency campaign, forward to five friends, wash your hands, and check on your neighbors (housed and unhoused!)? Please follow us on twitter and facebook for updates.
Copyright © 2020 Material Aid and Advocacy Program, All rights reserved.

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