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FPC's Vibrant Outreach Program

Jhamtse Gatsal Children's Community

First Parish has an active Outreach Team ready to get involved with both ongoing programs such as the UCC's One Great Hour of Sharing, as well as unexpected situations such as natural disasters or local family tragedies. This page contains several long-term projects supported by us. For more information, please reach out to the Outreach Team at .

Hope for Housing Gift Cards

Purchase a shopping card for Shaws, Hannafords, Stop & Shop, Panera's, CVS,  or Dunkin' Donuts. You get the full value of the card. The appropriate store in turn donates 5% of all sales to Hope for Housing Central Massachusetts to assist families at risk of becoming homeless. The program is administered through the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance.

The fastest growing homeless population is children.  It has been demonstrated that children who are homeless experience deflated self-worth, diminished school achievement, and related health and emotional issues. Prevention of homelessness is the most cost effective and least disruptive approach to ending family homelessness.  

Hope for Housing prevents families from becoming homeless by providing subsidies for rental or utility arrearage, rental deposits or heating.  For an average of $545 a family can be helped over a rough spot and avoid becoming homeless.  In contrast, Massachusetts pays $80 per ight to house a homeless family in a hotel room with no cooking facility. Most families stay for six to eight months, costing the state an average of about $8,500 per family!  1700 Massachusetts families were living in motels in December 2012.  

By purchasing these shopping cards you can make a significant difference to families in need.  It is a win-win program!

Shopping cards can be purchased Sunday morning following worship (11:30am) or in the church office Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11am-2pm.
Jhamtse Gatsal is a loving home, community, and school for about 85 disadvantaged children ranging in age from toddler to adolescent. The children come from a diverse background of adversity from nearby Himalayan villages in remote northeast India. In Tibetan, Jhamtse Gatsal means “Garden of Love and Compassion.” It was founded and is directed by Lobsang Phuntsok, a former Buddhist monk who has
devoted his life to providing for children at risk in his home district.

Jhamtse Gatsal provides a safe, loving environment for the children, by building trusting relationships. Each child is a part of a family, cared for by an Ama la (house mother). The children learn love, compassion, and
wisdom, and practice integrating these principles into all aspects of their daily lives.

The children are taught compassion through helping villages in the region. Jhamtse Gatsal strives to be a model school and community, serving as a learning center for surrounding villages, through community

The story of Jhamtse Gatsal is movingly depicted in the Emmy winning documentary, “ Tashi and the Monk ,” about the youngest, naughtiest child, and her transformation as she experiences love and compassion from the community.

Many Hands Thrift Shoppe

Our Mission… “To provide the residents of Berlin and the surrounding area access to affordable clothing, as well as creating an opportunity for many hands to volunteer for a worthy cause and a caring environment in our community.”

Our thrift shoppe is called "Many Hands" for a reason. It is staffed by volunteers from multiple communities, philosophies, and theologies, gathering together to provide a wonderful service. To learn more, email .

Many Hands is currently accepting applications for four $500 scholarships. Deadline is May 12, 2018. Must be a Berlin resident and High School Senior to apply.

Tues. 10 – 2
Thurs. 12 – 8
1st and 3rd Sat.  10 - 2