It’s the part of town where despair is obvious.
Just south of Methadone Mile in Boston, people stroll the streets, and many are homeless.
“Some of us have made mistakes, some of us are trying to bounce back, so a little help does go a long way,” Angel Serrano said. He is one of those people getting a little help.
He met Madeleine Park a few weeks ago when her organization, "Together She Can," held an event at the Southampton Street Shelter.
Her non-profit collects toiletries and new or gently used clothing and hands them out to those who aren’t lucky enough to have the essentials.
Thanks to donations from people around Boston they handed out the items and gave haircuts and medical care.
“Angel popped out and said, 'Let me help you…don’t carry anything heavy, I’ll make sure everything is safe,'” Park said.
Using extra funds and donations from that event, Park collected items just for Angel.
“Oh my god, thank you so much!” he said at the gift.
He says she sees beyond the stigma of homelessness.
“See for me it was because of the drugs,” says Serrano. “But not everybody that I’ve met out here is because of drugs and alcohol. A lot of people its they lost their jobs.”
Like Dustin Ward, who also lent a hand that day.
He’s been homeless for nearly a year after losing his job and apartment at the same time.
“You don’t know what’s gonna happen next… knowing that you have to come up with something,” says Ward.
He’s currently working, but having difficulty finding a home because of high rent in the city.
“After that first night, I knew something was gonna happen because I was gonna put one foot in front of the other and it was gonna take me somewhere.”
So far, Park has dropped 10,000 bags full of donated toiletry items to Boston area shelters. And with community donations, she plans to continue to turn some of that despair into hope.
“Don’t turn a blind eye. Any little thing counts… just a simple bar of soap can make someone’s day.”
Friend and "Together She Can" board member Alex Summers says she ran a toiletry drive at her office and the response was enormous. She says the work Park is doing is making a difference.
“The inspiration she’s been and all she’s done for this community is just unbelievable.”
‘Together She Can’ is always looking for donations. For more information on how you can help, visit togethershecan.org.