Humanizing Hunger: Kathleen Craigen


Headshot of Kathleen Craigen, Volunteer for North Central Mass Faith Based Coalition and young professional
Kathleen Craigen

In Episode #25 Kathleen Craigen sat with us to talk about the realities of living hungry and homeless in North Central Massachusetts.  She explains to us the work that the Coalition is doing not only provides critical need but does so recognizing the dignity of the people they are helping every week. 

As of January 2019, Massachusetts had an estimated 18,471 experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Of that Total, 3,766 were family households, 917 were Veterans, 480 were unaccompanied young adults (aged 18-24), and 2,370 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
Public school data reported to the U.S. Department of Education during the 2017-2018 school year shows that an estimated 23,601 public school students experienced homelessness over the course of the year. Of that total, 192 students were unsheltered, 6,787 were in shelters, 1,524 were in hotels/motels, and 15,098 were doubled up.
In Massachusetts, 617,380 people are struggling with hunger – and of them 138,760are children.
The Coalition Symbol, a sun-drenched cross slightly off centered in a red traced heart

Kathleen sat down with us to discuss the volunteer work she’s advocating for from the North Central Massachusetts Faith Based Community Coalition – currently serving over 1300 meals to hungry and homeless individuals in the Fitchburg area; The Coalition also provides Outreach Specialists that are doing substance use prevention work and more. In fact, the organization’s outreach specialist has gotten more than 25 individuals into treatment since the start of COVID-19.

Kathleen volunteers for the program at least once per month but was heavily involved in the restructuring of the program when COVID-19 hit.

We talk about the need for a whole-person approach to providing help to those who find themselves homeless and hungry.  We dispatch a number of myths surrounding the homeless and hungry in Massachusetts and touch upon mentla health issues, health coverage, the sources of poverty and more.

Contact the Coalition:

The Coalition is hosting an upcoming fundraiser in celebration of their 10th anniversary: Saturday, October 24th, 2020 from 12:00pm-3:00pm.

In collaboration with Roots Natural Foods Kitchen, we will be giving out salad, lasagna (veggie or meat), and dessert for $20 per ticket.

A little bit about Kathleen

  • Grew up in Pepperell, MA but moved to Fitchburg my sophomore year in high school and lived there for 11+ years
  • Bought a house in Westminster, MA November 2019
  • Formerly worked at MWCC, Sizer School, and Fitchburg State University — currently work with the Department of Developmental Services.

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