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It Happens Here: Lazarus House Ministries changing lives in Lawrence

It Happens Here: Lazarus House Ministries changing lives in Lawrence
It Happens Here: Lazarus House Ministries changing lives in Lawrence 03:16

LAWRENCE - The Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence is changing lives as it feeds, teaches and supports its struggling guests.

Single mother Natividad Dulyx came here from Puerto Rico. She loves her job at the Lazarus House, where she meets people and gives back to her new community. But it wasn't always this way.

"When you're going to lose everything in your life, you say wow, I have to start again," she told WBZ-TV.

She arrived here with nothing but her two children. But when she came to Lazarus House for a meal, she found her future and her purpose.

"It was so huge for me, I said yeah, yeah, because I wanted to do something more with my life," Dulyx said.

She is one of the many success stories born out of this local charity that's been serving Lawrence for almost 40 years. And they do so much more than just feed the guests.

"When people come to us they are at that state where they're vulnerable. They've been beaten down, they're in despair, they've been discouraged, and that's the lifting up that we get to do that's the biggest gift of all," Marcy Furse, the manager of volunteer engagement at Lazarus House told WBZ.

Furse oversees the 5,000-plus volunteers who make this charity work. It's a soup kitchen, a shelter, a thrift store and a food pantry.

There is advocacy, there are classes and lots of resources, but it all starts with a meal.

They serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Guests are greeted and embraced. But it doesn't end here.

Hundreds of food donations at the Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence. CBS Boston

Once here, they learn about the food pantry down the street. They fed more than 1,200 families last week.

Liset Garcia, the food services coordinator, is worried.

"It's 'Oh my God,' I'm home sleeping and I'm thinking about am I going to have enough food for tomorrow," she told WBZ. "I've been here eight years and this is the hardest and the worst I've ever seen."

This is the first year this charity has had to buy food that's normally donated. It's a combination of less company-run food drives, higher rent and gas, and just way more need. You can see it on the empty shelves, which are usually fully stocked.

It's an unprecedented struggle behind the scenes, but they're still finding a way to serve so many and literally change the lives of our most vulnerable.

A guest gets a hug at the Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence. CBS Boston

"Day by day, I realize they give me the opportunity I have to do my best," Dulyx said.

To learn more about Lazarus House or to donate, visit their website.

Their largest fundraiser "Sharing our Bounty Dinner and Gala" is this Saturday, November 12th.

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