Newton-Based Non-Profit Partners With Chestnut Hill Square For Holiday Donation Drive

Families dropped off gently-used and new linens and towels at Serena and Lily, a home goods store, as a part of Chestnut Hill Square’s donation drive for Welcome Home from Nov. 28 to Dec. 18. 

Welcome Home, a home goods pantry in West Newton, distributes basic household items to individuals in housing transition in the Greater Boston area. The organization relies on donations from the community and has partnered with the Chestnut Hill Square, a local shopping center, to host a donation drive in recent years. 

“I can’t emphasize strongly enough the need out there among people setting up homes,” Julie Plaut Mahoney, executive director at Welcome Home, said. “For us as a non-profit, our reliance is on our for-profit partners to help us fulfill our mission. Like we just can’t do it without them.”

While other businesses like Athleta have hosted the drive in the past, Serena and Lily is hosting for the first time this year, according to Luanne Perrera, head of Serena & Lily’s Chestnut Hill design shop. Chestnut Hill Square helped the shop coordinate many of the logistics, Perrera said. 

“The square brought us a trunk to collect the goods, and there’s signage associated with that in the front of our store,” she said. “We keep it, and when we have too much, the security team comes over and picks it up and brings it over.”

The store receives around two to three drop offs from families each day, according to Perrera. Welcome Home asks for donations that are in good quality to preserve the dignity of recipients.

“They ask their donors to provide things that are new or like new because they feel strongly that people should live with dignity and they should have things that are in good condition,” Perrera said. 

Serena and Lily donate the bedding sets used for their in-store displays to Welcome Home every quarter, according to Perrera. 

Welcome Home serves a broad range of clients in housing transition, including immigrants who left their belongings in their countries of origin and people escaping domestic abuse, according to Mahoney.

“What all these people have in common is that they are in a position of building a new home and need these items,” Mahoney said. 

Unlike other shelters, Welcome Home does not require clients to document their level of need, according to Mahoney. 

The donations from Chestnut Hill Square make up a majority of the goods received by Welcome Home at this time of year, Mahoney said.

“It is a very significant source of donations for us whenever they agree to do it,” she said.

Mahoney hopes to expand Welcome Home’s relationship with Chestnut Hill Square in the future. 

“I live in Newton and it’s really so heartwarming to see our local stores, and in this case, Chestnut Hill Square, be willing to use its reach to support nonprofits like ours that are trying to help people,” Mahoney said. “So where do I see us in two years? I really hope I see us having regular partnerships.”

December 11, 2022