Hope and Comfort

In the recent weeks following Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma we have watched the citizens of Houston as they struggle with the most basic of needs, food, water, shelter but one thing we often forget about when discussing basic needs is toiletries. Something as simple as a toothbrush, deodorant or a bar of soap and more importantly the huge effect that not having these basic essentials has on our self-esteem and life.

I recently had a fantastic conversation with a remarkable man named Jeff Feingold, who identified this need in 2010. An unlikely nonprofit founder, with an MBA from Harvard business school and over 20 years working as a portfolio manager at Fidelity, yet his huge heart and overwhelming gratitude inspired the nonprofit, Hope and Comfort in 2010. Their mission is to improve the health and self-esteem of school age children and young adults in the Boston area. His story is one of gratitude, inspiration and hope….

Charity Matters:  What was the moment you knew you needed to start a nonprofit?

Jeff Feingold: It started in 2010 when my daughter was having a birthday party, and my wife and I decided she didn’t need anything but so many other children did. We asked people to bring items needed by a local nonprofit.  We were overwhelmed by the toys, toiletries and clothes that  friends brought to donate. In delivering these items, I met a social worker who shared with me a statistic that 58% of low-income families are unable to buy personal care items. She said, if you don’t have a bar soap it is hard to go forward.

We knew then that we needed to do more and began sourcing toiletries out of our garage. In 2011, we applied for our nonprofit status for Hope and Comfort.

Charity Matters: You have a full-time job and run a nonprofit what fuels you to keep doing this work?

Jeff Feingold: I think the realization that life is short and fragile and there is so much need. We have been blessed but there are so many kids who are not. Children who do not go to school because of their hygiene, that are afraid to smile because they haven’t brushed their teeth, students being bullied because their families can’t afford soap or shampoo, who are refusing to go to school.  Knowing that we are able to bring resources together to change this for so many kids is what keeps us going. That and the need seems to keep growing.

Charity Matters: When do you know that you have made a difference?

Jeff Feingold:  I know we have made a difference when we hear that children are going back to school, when they send us notes saying that they are smiling again. I know that we have been able to thrive in a crowded nonprofit landscape by partnering with food pantries, human services, children’s organizations and bringing everyone together in partnerships creating a distribution network to get these toiletries to those who need them.

We have made a difference in inspiring hundreds of volunteers, young families and young children, including our own on teaching them how to give and make a difference.

Charity Matters: Tell us what success you have had? What has your impact been?

Jeff Feingold: In May 2010 we started with a donating a few items from our daughters birthday party and within the first year of working from our garage we distributed over 1,000 toiletries. By 2014 we partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs and Mass General Hospital to provide products and hygiene lessons, distributing over 50,000 toiletries. Today, only seven years later we have distributed over 375,000 toiletries to close to twenty thousand children in need. 

As Jeff said, Hope and Comfort has gone from soap to hope…..a shinning example of what love and gratitude can do!


Charity Matters.


Sharing is caring, if you feel moved or inspired, please inspire another…

Copyright © 2017 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Christmas in the City

Christmas in the city

Can you hear the song playing now? “Ring a-ling, hear them sing, its Christmas Time in the City.”  I am always looking for inspiring people and stories that make our world better and this family has created a holiday classic even better than the song it is named after.

It all started 23 years ago, in 1989 ,when the Kennedy family from Boston (not sure if there is a relation) saw the excess that their children had on Christmas. These two amazing parents, Jake and Sparky, wondered how they were going to teach their children what the season was really all about? They simply wanted them to understand the spirit of Christmas, of kindness, goodwill and the gift of sharing. Their solution was to take the holiday tradition that they had with their family and bring it to others, that didn’t.

So the following year, the Kennedy’s expanded their Christmas tradition with the help of their friends, co-workers, and clients all volunteering their time and donating gifts and money to provide Christmas for those that didn’t have one. In that moment, Christmas in the City was born.  The first year 165 mothers and children from Boston Homeless Shelters were guests at a party at Boston City Hall, with holiday decorations, games, a holiday meal and a gift for each child that the child had asked Santa to deliver.

In the two decades since, Christmas in the City  hosts over 3,000 children and parents from homeless shelters from Boston and surrounding communities.  More than replicating the Kennedy’s Christmas morning, these children now experience a safe environment, filled with food, entertainment, a Winter Wonderland with games, rides, a petting zoo, activities from the Museum of Science and the Children’s Museum, and each child received a personalized gift from Santa which they had wished for.

As if that wasn’t enough, Christmas in the City also distributes toys and gifts to almost 2000 families who can not be accommodated at the event.

The Kennedy’s small gesture to share the joy of the season has now become a year round affair because Christmas in the City simply could not turn away those they have cared for.  In addition, they now provide a Thanksgiving food distribution for families in need; an Adopt- a-Family program to assist families transitioning from a shelter to their own home; assisting homeless families in providing support to help find employment, financial aid and legal advise, daycare and other help to get back on their feet.

What began as a way to teach the joy of the season to their own children has become a teaching moment for all of us blessed to witness the magic of Christmas happening all around us. Cue music….Ring a-ling, hear them sing, soon it will be Christmas day….

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.