Isabella, youngest resident of the Hospitality House homeless shelter
Isabella, youngest resident of the Hospitality House homeless shelter
Seven-month-old Isabella will be celebrating her first Christmas at the Hospitality House homeless shelter. “When she was born she was so cute and cuddly,” says Stephanie Fowles, the shelter’s team leader. “Now she is starting to sit up on her own and smiles at all the workers.” Isabella’s father works full-time as a highly skilled and valued carpenter. The family’s Knox County Homeless Coalition case managers and housing specialist are working hard with Isabella’s parents to get the family in their own home. Finding affordable, safe, good-quality housing in the midcoast is next to impossible, and harder than that when it is for a family of six.

At the shelter, a rambling Victorian on Old County Road in Rockport, eight children older than Isabella who live there are busy decorating a floor-to-ceiling tree with a paper chain and snowflakes.  

Isabella’s family, and most of 80 other families served by the coalition, have been matched with community members for Christmas gifts. But gifts are still needed for a few dozen single adults.

One is living in a campground, one in his car, and many are couch surfing. “Some of these folks haven’t had a Christmas for years so we felt it was important to include them as well,” says Ev Donnelly, the shelter’s chief elf for the three years since it opened under new management. High on wish lists are phone cards and gift cards to grocery stores.

Call 593-8151 to help with gifts, or to donate money for the coalition to run the shelter and wraparound services that provide care and support to more than 300 people in the midcoast. The mission of the coalition is to help bring families back to sustainable, productive, hopeful independence, strengthening our community. Checks can be mailed to the Knox County Homeless Coalition, P.O. Box 1696, Rockport ME 04841. Every dollar sent in before December 31 will be matched.