Cambridge Material Assistance Program Background
Who We Are and How You Can Help
The AFSC Material Assistance Program (MAP) has been giving clothing and basic household supplies to people in need since 1944. Part of our space is structured to resemble a store. Clients, referred by local agencies, come in by appointment and "shop,” free of charge, for the items they need.
Some people come because they are homeless and need a winter coat. Others can’t afford clothes for that job interview they’ve finally managed to land. Some are no longer homeless but can’t yet afford basic home goods. We see people after house fires, health emergencies and much more. Families, high school students, senior citizens - all come through our doors.
In the last few months we’ve gone from serving 10-20 people a week to serving 50-60 and we expect need to keep growing! You can help us rise to this occasion by donating items from the list below (and only those items). The better your donations match the needs of the community, the more efficiently we can help the increased number of people turning to us for help.
Important: We place a high value on treating clients with dignity and respect, and part of that means good clean clothing without excessive wear and housewares in good working condition! We rely on a great team of volunteers to separate trash from treasure, but most of all we rely on you to give only items that someone can really feel good about wearing or using in their home.
Clothing (Including Coats, Hats, Gloves, Scarves)
Clean, fashionable, seasonal, clothing in perfect condition for men and women, especially in larger sizes. We’ll be happy to refer you to a nearby partner agency for children’s items.
Underwear, bras and socks in brand-new condition for men and women
Housewares –MUST be in LIKE NEW working condition
- Pots, Pans, Dishware and Glasses
- Silverware (unmatched OK) & Kitchen Utensils
- Small Kitchen Appliances
- Radios/Alarm Clocks, Lamps
- TVs and VCRs, CD players
- Fans and space heaters
- Ironing Boards and irons
Linens-MUST have no rips or stains
- Bedding & Pillows
- Small Rugs
- Towels- bath, hand, and washcloths
- Daypacks, Backpacks, Duffel Bags
- Travel-sized toiletries & toothbrushes
- Sleeping Bags
Due to limited space we CANNOT take: Furniture, Children’s Clothing & Items, Books, Computer Equipment, Office Supplies, Sporting Goods, Games, Entertainment Media & Toys.
Other Ways to Help
Donate to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
The American Friends Service Committee supports MAP and many other good programs throughout New England and around the world through its general funds. To designate a gift especially for MAP, please make a check out to AFSC and write “for MAP” on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to the MAP office at 5 Longfellow Park, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Volunteer at MAP
MAP depends on a unique and intergenerational group of volunteers, from young people to senior citizens. The range of volunteers includes people who want to lend a helping hand to better their community and former recipients who return to give back to the program that has helped them. Volunteers sort and display donated items, help keep the space organized, perform clerical tasks, assist with mailings, and assist recipients in choosing their items. The program benefits from the special talents that volunteers have to offer. No experience is necessary to become a volunteer. We will be happy to train you!
Volunteer at the Semi Annual Tag Sale, our Fundraising Event
Volunteers are also needed during the two weeks before our fall and spring fundraisers to sort, price and display items, and post flyers for the tag sale. Not only is it a great cause, it's also fun! Extra hands on the Friday and Saturday of the sale are always needed. For upcoming tag sale dates, please call Cassie Hurd, our Program Coordinator, at 617-876-5312.
Donate the Following Items for Tag Sale Fundraisers:
- Designer, Fancy & Vintage Clothing
- Quality Decorative Items
- China & Sets of Quality Dishware
And Whichever Way You Choose to Help,Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for Your Support!