Florian Hall fundraiser raises funds, profile for St. Mary’s Center

Florian Time for St. Mary's: Elected officials joined with organizers for a photo. John Gilloolly/PEI.Florian Time for St. Mary's: Elected officials joined with organizers for a photo. John Gilloolly/PEI.

A large crowd gathered at Florian Hall last Thursday, June 5 for the Neighbors Supporting Neighbors fundraiser held to aide St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, located on Jones Hill in Dorchester.

What started off as a one-day pre-inaugural community service project inspired by Mayor Walsh turned into a longer, weekend project when a sprinkler pipe broke last January. A group of volunteers painted and remodeled the St. Mary’s cafeteria and have been committed to doing more for the institution ever since.

“This is absolutely beyond our wildest dreams,” said Deirdre Houtmeyers, president of St. Mary’s Center in a speech at the Thursday night fundraiser. “When they said they wanted to do something we had no idea that so many people would come to support what we do in growth.”

The Florian Hall fundraiser, which attracted approximately 250 guests, raised nearly $60,000 and helped introduce St. Mary’s Center to the broader Dorchester community, including many people who were born or worked at St. Margaret’ Hospital, before the hospital property was transformed into St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children.

Supporters donated nearly 50 raffle items ranging from sports collectibles to paintings and even a one episode guest appearance on the Wahlbergers, a reality TV series based on the Wahlberg family, who are originally from Dorchester.

Funds are allocated to St. Mary’s Center and the seven programs and comprehensive services benefitting the families served by the organization.

“We are forever grateful to the host committee of esteemed elected officials, including Mayor Walsh and Boston City Councilor Frank Baker, our passionate event co-chairs, James Baker and Sally Cahill, our tireless event committee and everyone who generously supported the event and St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children,” said Houtmeyers. “Each and every person came together to embody the true spirit and meaning of Neighbors Supporting Neighbors to help homeless families receive life-changing programs and services that improve their emotional well-being, educational achievements, and employment opportunities.” If you would like to contribute any donations or volunteer time to St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children contact 617-436-8600 or email contact@stmaryscenterma.org. You may also follow them on Facebook, Twitter or visit stmaryscenterma.org.