Story Project: Neighbor Brigade

Neighbor Brigade coordinates help through 24 Lotsa Helping Hands Open Communities in towns across Massachusetts. So far in 2012, 625 of their 3,000 plus members have volunteered to help 60 individuals and families in crisis, and the organization is expecting to grow to 30 Open Communities this year. Neighbor Brigade’s volunteer-based communities provide day-to-day tasks such as meals, rides, dog walking services, friendly visits, and even light household tasks for neighbors in need. “Lotsa Helping Hands is fundamental to what we do – this service enables us to easily and efficiently coordinate help across an entire community to support our neighbors in crisis,” said Pam Washek, executive director of Neighbor Brigade.

Pam first had the idea in 2002 when she was diagnosed with cancer and cooking for her family and caring for her daughters became a bit more difficult between her daily cycles of radiation treatments. But she found help when a few neighbors and friends stepped up to cook meals, organize rides and perform light housework. It’s been 10 years since the idea first popped up, and with 30+ Communities, Washek says she hopes to expand beyond Massachusetts soon.

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