When I first walked through the doors of Dinah’s House, it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I was struck, drawn to the authenticity of the place. These women weren’t just stopping in to grab food and clothes and go. They were staying, sitting, sharing stories, laughter, and tears. When I first asked Gay (Founder of Dinah’s House) the fateful question, a question that I now often get, “So what does Dinah’s House do exactly?” She gave me a knowing half smile, the one that only Gay can can give, and said, “Well, why is it that we have to DO something?” I wrestled with that question for a while, because here we are a ministry in the heart of Haverhill and we don’t DO anything?
As I got to know the community better I realized I was asking the wrong question from the start. Who we are IS what we do at Dinah’s House. It can be seen most clearly through the the tireless, compassionate hearts of our volunteers.They continue to amaze and inspire me. Just today I had two volunteers stay well past their shift to sit with a woman on the brink of losing her home. They helped her connect with the right people in the community so she and her young children would not spend the night on the street. Yesterday, despite her own worry for her family in the path of Irma, one volunteer helped me clean and mop a flooded bathroom. Another gave away her own coat because a woman came in cold and wet.
This is who we are. Dinah’s House exist to be a community to one another and for one another, whatever that may mean. It is breaking bread together and sharing in each other’s sorrows and joys. Too often in this world people are left alone, unable to manage the steep and overwhelming climb ahead. We are a sisterhood that climbs together. We are a group of women and their children who for a few hours each day choose to do life together, even in it’s messiness. If someone needs help filling out a form, we sit and fill it out with them. If a woman comes in hungry, we feed her. If a visitor needs a listening ear, we are the friend who listens without judgement. We are the place that feels like home to many of these women. We firmly believe that creating a sense of belonging and nurturing a feeling of deep peace happens in intentional loving community. Our hope is that every woman who walks through our doors can feel and know that they are loved and worth fighting for.