This is an example of the good works of mercy taking place all over the Archdiocese of Boston:
Wicked Local Weston
Weston resident walking to help homeless
November 23, 2012
Carol Ritter, 63, of Weston, is a woman of faith who values her community, family and has gratitude toward all that she has.
She is the proud mother of one biological child and four adopted children, and an active member of Saint Julia Church.
To pay forward the wealth of support she has in her life, she became a volunteer and advocate for Hearth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating elder homelessness.
On Sunday, Dec. 2, she will set out with Team Saint Julia and raise funds and awareness for Hearth by participating in her third Winter Walk at the Boston Common.
Initially, Ritter saw the Winter Walk as an opportunity for her confirmation students to get involved in a community service project. After completing the 2-mile route for the first time with dirty slush entering through a hole in her boot, the Winter Walk has taken on a whole new meaning for her.
“The first year we did the walk in Weston, I had leaky boots on and by the end of the walk, my feet were numb, I could barely walk and I had tears in my eyes,” said Ritter. “All I could think about was what if this was my life … I could be that 60-year-old woman walking around Boston with leaky boots not having a home to return to.”
The following year, with the help of other members of her church, Ritter decided to create and sell a cookbook in which all proceeds went to Hearth.
For this project, 24 parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston participated in submitting recipes, and $14,000 was raised to help in the fight against homelessness.
“Our cookbook was definitely a fundraising success,” said Ritter. “By last year, we had gotten close to people who use Hearth’s services, which inspired us to participate in the organization’s adopt-a-room program in which we furnished a unit at Olmsted Green and several members participated in the move-in day to arrange the furnishings, setup the kitchen and decorate.”
The adopt-a-room program provided furnishings and personal items for the 59 new units at Hearth’s new affordable housing unit, Olmsted Green. Those who participated in the adopt-a-room program helped to transform apartments into homes for the new residents.
Team Saint Julia, made up of 15 Weston residents and churchgoers, hopes to collectively raise $1,000 in the Winter Walk to help fund solutions to end homelessness throughout Greater Boston and beyond.
Ritter and other members of the team also plan to continue their tradition of caroling with Hearth residents during the holiday season.
“Every Christmas since our first walk, we have visited Ruggles affordable assisted living community to sing Christmas carols and deliver small presents to Hearth’s residents,” said Ritter. “It is the warmth, the fellowship and the openness of the residents who make you feel like family. They are a reason I continue to visit Ruggles and participate in the Winter Walk.”
“On average, it costs $1,285 for a case manager to help someone move from the streets into permanent housing,” said Mark Hinderlie, CEO and president of Hearth. “Without the support and dedication of people like Carol, fulfilling our mission would not be possible.”
The 10th annual Winter Walk will take place on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. at Boston Common. To register go online (www.winterwalk.org).