Samaritans Breakfast for Hope benefit Drew 500 Attendees
Celebrating 40 years of providing 24/7 Compassion
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. | Forty years ago, with one telephone and 22 volunteers, the first Samaritans branch in the United States opened its doors in Boston. Founder Monica Dickens, great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, was determined to bring the ”befriending service” to Bostonians in crisis. Despite much skepticism, phones began to ring and 40 years later, they still are.
In celebration of the 40-year milestone, more than 500 attendees gathered at Samaritans’ “Breakfast for Hope” benefit including Naomi Schwarz of Swampscott, who also serves on Samaritans Board of Directors, helping to raise more than $150,000 with gifts still being received. Also in attendance that morning was daughter of founder Monica Dickens, Prudence Stratton and Mayor Marty Walsh. The morning highlighted the past, present and future work of the organization.
“So many lives have been saved and individuals comforted during our 40 years of service and it is a real celebration that these free services are still being offered because of the generous communities we serve," said Roberta Hurtig, Executive Director of Samaritans.
Since 1974, more than 2.5 million phone calls have been answered by Samaritans. As the culture has changed, shifting to a mobile and online generation, so have Samaritans’ services. Today Samaritan volunteers respond to incoming online chats and texts and ensure that whichever way people reach out for help, a compassionate Samaritans’ befriender will be there to answer. Each year, more than 400 volunteers answer more than 120,000 calls, 10,000 texts and 1,000 online chats through Samaritans crisis services; providing more than 300 workshops and trainings on suicide prevention to more than 10,000 people each year; and comforting more than 1,000 people impacted by a loss to suicide through support groups, community meetings and one on one visits.
For more information regarding Samaritans services, to volunteer or to donate, visit samaritanshope.org. For any reason at any time, Samaritans can be reached at 1-877-870-HOPE.