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Natick - Local Town Pages

Natick Service Council Sees Increased Number of Clients: Residents Can Help Meet the Need

Nov 28, 2020 09:08AM ● By Cynthia Whitty

From left to right: Laura Lilly, Michelle Major, Layne Clune, Kathy Muleski, and Pam Koskovich were holiday program volunteers in 2019. This year NSC is offering gift cards rather than donated items. (Photo/Natick Service Council)

The Natick Service Council (NSC), like many organizations, is having to find ways to serve its clients in spite of— and because of—Covid-19. In past years, NSC had hundreds of volunteers help collect and distribute donated goods and holiday gifts to those in need, but things are different this year. The need for NSC’s many programs is greater than ever. Since the pandemic began in early March, the service organization is seeing a steady stream of new clients. “In normal times, we have hundreds of volunteers and sponsors who help us put together full Thanksgiving meals and buy and organize holiday gifts for our clients,” Dan Shea, NSC executive director, explained. “This year, to ensure the safety of our 11-member staff, our clients, and volunteers, we are giving clients gift cards to use to purchase their own Thanksgiving meals and holiday gifts.” NSC clients consist of lowand limited-income Natick individuals and families, single-parent households, the unemployed and underemployed, the working poor, those in ill health, the disabled, and the elderly. “All clients go through an initial intake to determine what services they may need. The majority of the requests for help we have seen are for food and financial assistance with rent or utilities,” Shea said. Through both the Thanksgiving and Holiday Gift programs, NSC is serving over 600 families, a 20 percent increase in the Thanksgiving meal program and a 10 percent increase in the Holiday Gifts Program. Overall, NSC is serving about 20 percent more people this year through all their programs. With monetary donations, NSC is able to purchase the items they need “at a lower cost and preserve staff resources,” Shea said. “Between funding for the Holiday Programs and our need for general support,” Shea said, “the goal for year-end fundraising this year is about $300,000. We are fortunate enough to have a $100,000 dollar-for-dollar match for this year’s Holiday Appeal from a very generous anonymous donor.” Natick residents can support NSC holiday programs and other services by making a donation on the website,