1983 On March 14, Lazarus House opened a 5-bed emergency shelter on Holly Street and begins an advocacy program.
1984 The Good Shepherd Thrift Store, the first of three thrift stores opened.
1986 The Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen started serving breakfast and lunch.
1987 The St. Martin Food Pantry began providing groceries to the community.
1988 The Marcellin Champagnet Pre-school was added to the Good Shepherd Center and ran until 2005 when the state began providing pre-school services to children of low-income parents.
1991 St. Martin de Tours, the second thrift store opened.
1992 A free medical clinic was established with the help of the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.
1993 Bridget Shaheen stepped in as Executive Director. A Ministry to assist homeless people living with HIV/AIDS was established and two homes were opened, one for eight single individuals and a duplex for families. A devastating fire destroyed the building which houses the St. Martin de Tours Thrift Store. A larger building became available at 121 Essex Street where the thrift store is currently located.
1997 The third thrift store, St. Francis and St. Clare, opened to serve the people of South Lawrence.
1998 A job training and ESL program was created along with SPARK*L.E Cleaning Company to offer education and work preparation training.
2000 The first Hike for Hope took place. The 5-mile pledge walk at Merrimack College raised funds for a future transitional housing program.
2007 In October, the Transitional Housing program at Capernaum Place opened, offering families and individuals with disabilities, a single, two or three-bedroom apartment in a 20 unit building.
2008 The United Lebanese Charitable and Cultural Society building at 242 Hampshire Street was purchased with plans to house a new food pantry. Funds to purchase the facility were provided, in large part, by the Hunger Strikers, a group of marathon runners who raised money by running the Boston Marathon several years in a row.
2010 The St. Martha’s food pantry opened in the new St. Claire’s building at 242 Hampshire Street in May. The renovations took less than two years and included raising funds to purchase a walk-in refrigerator and freezer, a conveyor belt and a lift to better serve the elderly and people with disabilities. At the new pantry, people are able to regain their dignity by “shopping” in a supermarket environment. In September, a new Culinary Training work preparation program kicked off with a full class of students.
2011 The growing numbers of people in poverty living in the Merrimack Valley pushed the scope of need and services to unforeseen levels. Our Food Pantry reached a record high number of people averaging 537 families per week and the shelters, housing and other food services were filled to capacity.
The first culinary trainees completed their ESL classes, their paid internships at six local restaurants and passed the National ServSafe Certification exam. All participants were hired full time with benefits at the establishments where they interned.
2012 The numbers of people in need continued to increase dramatically. In Fiscal Year 2012, the food pantry alone averaged 720 families (more than 2,880 people) that received food each week. This is in addition to the hundreds of people that came to the soup kitchen, were served by the thrift stores or were sheltered in our housing on a daily basis.