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Mary Lyon Foundation Updates

Providing Warmth and Care During a Cold, Hard Winter

Scarlet Kitchen and her son recently moved to Massachusetts from Hawaii. Going from a warm, sunny climate to a cold, dark New England winter was a shock to their systems. To make the challenging transition harder, Scarlet’s furnace broke in November. 

Scarlet contacted several offices in the area to receive assistance, but no one returned her calls. Things changed when she reached out to Kristen Baker, Executive Director of the Mary Lyon Foundation. 

“It was a really long winter. I wasn’t getting a response from anybody, and Kristen was recommended to me as someone to contact. She went out of her way to connect me to resources. She’s been integral in helping us get back on our feet, and I wouldn’t have made it this far without her,” said Scarlet. 

Hope and a Helping Hand 

According to Scarlet, Kristen has been an amazing advocate, helping her family stay well-fed, warm, and safe this winter. 

“She’s a champion for people in need. She will do what it takes and help you get stuff done. It’s been a blessing. I wouldn’t have been able to survive the winter without them,” said Scarlet. “Just knowing that somebody was on my side was such a relief and took off so much stress. I can’t thank the Mary Lyon Foundation enough. They gave me hope despite our horrible situation.” 

Scarlet and her son participated in the Mary Lyon Foundation’s food assistance program, and her son was ecstatic to receive a brand-new bicycle from the Foundation during Christmas. 

“It was incredibly moving. They gave us the Christmas my son always dreamed of,” said Scarlet. 

The Foundation’s food assistance program provides groceries to families in need all throughout West County. The program is free to families in need. 

According to Scarlet, the food deliveries she receives are full of fresh, high-quality offerings. Some even remind her of the tropical state she once called home. “You can’t usually go to a food bank and get a pineapple,” Scarlet said with a smile. 

With the power of a helping hand, Scarlet and her son got through their first New England winter and made new friends along the way. “We didn’t know anybody in the area. We didn’t have any friends here yet, and it was very scary and lonely when the furnace broke. It was nice to have a friend to lean on to get through a challenging time,” she said. 

If you are a family in our district with a need for food for your family, please get started by visiting For more information, call our office at 413-625-2555, or email us at [email protected]