Frustration mounts at Haverhill thrift shop where more junk dumped

HAVERHILL (June 25,2020)— Frustration is rising at Ruth’s House thrift shop in Lafayette Square.

Two months ago, the nonprofit shop had to spend money to dispose of a pile of useless junk that was left in a parking lot near the shop’s donation bins.

From children’s toilet training seats to broken laundry baskets to the front seat of a car, nothing in the junk pile could be resold at the thrift shop that serves many of the area’s low-income individuals and families, in addition to being open to the general public.

It’s happened again, shop officials said — only this time the unsellable junk dumped in the parking lot included a mattress, a wooden bed and metal bed frame, a broken vacuum cleaner, Christmas decorations, old appliances, coffee cups, tea cups, a lamp, vases, toys, glassware and other items.

“It’s very disappointing and demoralizing,” said Ruth’s House board member Barbara Canyes. “Since reopening recently, we thoroughly cleaned the shop and we reorganized our extensive inventory. Everything has been moving along nicely and now we must contend with dumping.”

In addition to the added expense of having the junk hauled away, shop manager Kimberley Smyly said the dumping will also take time away from shop staff members who, instead of loading the junk into the shop’s dumpster, would rather be helping low-income clients who need clothing and household items.

“We’ll have to delay some client visits to take care of this,” Canyes said.

“Because we have no knowledge of where this stuff came from and its condition, we don’t even want to touch it,” Smyly said.

Smyly said she heard that a man who is being paid to do house clean-outs has been dumping what he collects in various areas of the city, including at Ruth’s House and in a parking lot next door to the thrift shop.

Smyly said she hopes Capitol Waste, the city’s trash pickup company, will take away the larger items dumped at the thrift shop. They include the mattress, bed and a chair.

“It’s going to take a good amount of time,” she said, “to load the rest of the junk into our dumpster.”


Haverhill, MA (JANUARY 24, 2020) – Ruth’s House is excited to be awarded a $10,750 grant from the Griffin-White Foundation to help the indigent elderly and others live more comfortable, dignified lives. In Haverhill, 12% of the population are seniors and 25% of Haverhill senior households have an annual income of less than $20,000. The Griffin-White Foundation grant supports several elder based programs, including:

  • Elder Coat Program — In the past year, Ruth’s House provided more than 200 coats, winter gloves, hats and scarves to seniors to keep warm during the winter months. The minimum age of this program has been lowered from 55 to 50, due to the need in the community.
  • Seniors and Families are also eligible for a clothing voucher, four times a year, which can be used to purchase warm winter clothing or footwear items.
  • Underwear and socks are considered a basic clothing necessity — more than 100 individuals are given vouchers each month, which translates to more than 7,200 pairs of socks and underwear provided over the course of the year.
  • Job Skills Training Program – for several years, Ruth’s House has had great success with the job skills training program. The Thrift Shop has two seniors working in the job skills training program at this time. The seniors who train at Ruth’s House are eager to learn new skills and benefit from the social interaction that is a part of being employed. In 2020, Ruth’s House will offer this program to additional seniors.

“This grant keeps Merrimack Valley’s seniors warm this winter,” shared Barbara Donegan, President of the Board of Directors of Ruth’s House. “Whether it be the ability to provide the basic necessity of warm winter  clothing or job skills training that keeps our seniors engaged in our communities — we are extremely grateful to the Griffin-White Foundation for supporting our mission of providing for our indigent population.”


 Clients are offered wrap-around-services and information about food pantries, food stamps, community meals, heating assistance, housing, and other supportive services.

Haverhill, MA (JANUARY 17, 2020) – Ruth’s House is pleased to announce they have received a $20,000 grant from the George C. Wadleigh Foundation. The Foundation awards grants primarily to organizations caring for indigent seniors and individuals in the Greater Haverhill area.

“In any given one-month period, Ruth’s House provides nearly 16,000 articles of clothing to low income families and individuals,” shared Barbara Donegan, President of the Board of Directors of Ruth’s House. “We are again grateful to the George C. Wadleigh Foundation for supporting Ruth’s House in our mission of providing clothing to those in need, as well as providing job skills training.”

Ruth’s House has been a staple of the city of Haverhill since the organization was founded in 1992. They provide clothing to clients in need with dignity and respect. Haverhill citizens and members of the surrounding communities support the missions by generously donating clothing and household items. The overwhelming generosity of the citizens of the Merrimack Valley allows Ruth’s House to provide clothing vouchers to all who qualify; while also selling clothing and household items in the Thrift Shop which directly supports the missions.

The grant supports the Elderly Coat, Client Clothing, and Child Pajama Programs, among others:

  • Elderly Coat Program — Every qualifying senior age 50 and up receives a new or gently used winter coat, with a hat, scarf, and gloves. Last year we provided over 200 coats and accessories to our elder population.
  • Child Pajama Program — Ruth’s House provides new pajamas to each child in every client family.
  • Underwear and Socks Program — A basic necessity — Ruth’s House provided new socks and underwear to more than 2,400 individuals in 2019 of whom 25% were elderly.
  • Bra Program — Gently used or new bras are offered to women
  • Toiletries —  Toiletries are available to all.

Haverhill Bank Partners with Ruth’s House for a Successful Giving Tuesday

Haverhill Bank once again took a leading role on Giving Tuesday matching the first $1,000 of Giving Tuesday’s donations to Ruth’s House.  “Haverhill Bank has long been a friend of Ruth’s House allowing our team to make a difference to those in need in the Merrimack Valley”, shared President of the Ruth’s House board Barbara Donegan.  “This donation allows us to warmly clothe the children, seniors, families, and veterans in the community — we thank all those that donated and Haverhill Bank for the match!”

Photo: Kimberley Smyly, Ruth’s House Store Manager; Barbara Donegan, Ruth’s House President of the Board of Directors; and Thomas L Mortimer is President/CEO at Haverhill Bank

Ruth’s House adds to outreach team

HAVERHILL — Ruth’s House has named two people as ambassadors for the nonprofits, who will act as advocates in the community to promote the mission of the organization, which provides clothing and employment training to individuals throughout the Merrimack Valley.

They will share information about clothing vouchers, training support, provide outreach to the community to solicit services to Ruth’s House.

“We are pleased to welcome our two newest ambassadors to our leadership team at Ruth’s House,” shared Barbara Donegan, President of the Board of Directors of Ruth’s House. “They each have a unique background, with diverse experiences that make them an asset to the leadership team and to the organization as a whole.”

Cami Baker has shared her “Mingle to Millions” methodology of sales and networking to more than 30,000 professionals around the globe. With her book “Mingle to Millions, The Art and Science of building business relationships and mastering referrals,” Cami has worked with companies including: Berkshire Hathaway, Ronald McDonald House, Keller Williams and hundreds of other groups assisting their teams in building resources, relationships and revenue that scale up sales and profitability. She has been featured in Success from Home Magazine, on HGTV, and was a judge on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice.

Joe D’Amore is the founder and team leader of the Merrimack Valley Hope Mission (MVHM), a humanitarian project, which serves the poor and homeless of Merrimack Valley. The Mission is an informal support group devoted to providing basic needs to those living in poverty and are homeless. MVHM’s work is street-based outreach, with their mission to serve the poor, homeless and marginalized people to radically empower each other and fully share our common humanity and mutually restore dignity and self-respect.

Ruth’s Thrift Shop is located at 111 Lafayette St., Haverhill. For more information, visit

Ruth’s House Receives Grant from the
Griffin-White Foundation for $11,273

Haverhill, MA (JANUARY 16, 2019) – Ruth’s House is pleased to announce it has received a $11,273 grant from the Griffin-White Foundation. The Griffin-White Foundation awards grants to organizations that help elderly and disabled adults live more independent, dignified lives. In Haverhill, 12% of the population are seniors and 25% of Haverhill senior households have an annual income of less than $20k (Source: ACS). About 1,800 elders are at extreme risk due to winter weather. The grant supports several elder based programs, including:

  • The Elder Coat Program enables seniors to choose a new coat for the winter months. In the past year, Ruth’s House provided coats for 155 seniors. Due to the need in the community, the minimum age has been lowered from 55 to 50 as records indicate this past year’s largest client category is the 50-65+ age group. In the upcoming year, 200 coats will be purchased and distributed to elderly indigent seniors. Ruth’s House is committed to providing all seniors who qualify for our coat program with a pair of winter gloves. Seniors are also eligible for a clothing voucher, four times a year, which they can use to purchase any clothing or footwear items that they require.
  • At Ruth’s House, underwear and socks are considered a basic clothing necessity. The price of the socks and underwear has increased to an average cost of $6.50 per client visit. From January to June 2018, Ruth’s House provided socks and underwear to 1,156 individuals. 25% of these indigent clients were elderly.
  • Job Training Program with Operation Able – Ruth’s House has had great success with the job training program. Ruth’s House has four seniors working in our job training program. The seniors who train at Ruth’s House have a good work ethic, are eager to learn new skills, benefit from the social interaction that is a part of being employed, and are a pleasure to have at The Thrift Shop. In 2019, Ruth’s House will offer job training to at least four more seniors.

“This grant will keep Merrimack Valley’s seniors warm this winter,” shared Barbara Donegan, President of the Board of Directors of Ruth’s House. “Whether it be the basics of coats, gloves and clothing … or job training to keep our seniors engaged in our communities, we are eternally grateful to the Griffin-White Foundation to continuing to provide caring services for our senior population.”

The 2018 Great Christmas Stocking

Special thanks to our friends from Fidelity Chapter #90 and Georgetown Assembly #98 for donating the 2018 GREAT CHRISTMAS STOCKING contained more than 375 items, which included socks, gloves, hats, tights, and underwear.

Lottery Tree Winner

Our friend Suzette of Groveland, Massachusetts won the Lottery Tree! Ticket bought at the Riverside Market!

Celebrating the Season – Holiday Open House

A great time was had by all at the Ruth’s House Holiday Open House.  Special thanks to Sacred Hearts Parish for donating pajamas for all the children who visited the shop!

Cummings Employee Directed Giving Donates $1,000 to Ruth’s House

While not a program of Cummings Foundation, Employee Directed Giving is a celebrated tradition in the Cummings organization, with more than $2.25 million in donations to date. In appreciation of the dedicated service of its valued employees, Cummings Properties annually contributes $1,000 to a local charity of each staff member’s choice. Designed to support the communities where staff members live and work, the program is open to all regular full-time employees of Cummings Properties and its affiliated New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn.

2018 Volunteer Open House

Special Thanks to Our Amazing Volunteers

Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Cami Baker

Special thanks to our friend Cami Baker of Cami Baker – Mingle to Millions Business Networking Strategy! Cami’s reach for bra donations has stretched to bras being delivered from Arizona! Do you have some bras that are gently used that you no longer need?Drop them off at the Thrift Shop at Ruth’s House. 

2018 Ruth’s House Gala

HAVERHILL — Ruth’s House held its 25th Anniversary Celebration on September 14, 2018 at the Haverhill Country Club. Music was by the band Gone By Sunrise, with dancing, light food, a silent auction and cash raffle prizes of $2,000, $1,000 and $500. The event supported the mission of Ruth’s House to clothe the area’s neediest families. Sponsors include Haverhill Bank, Pentucket Bank, Fantini Bakery, #INDY Consulting, Costello Insurance, Main Street Remax, Garibaldi Club, Crescent Yacht Club and Dr. Anthony Sciuto.  The Thrift Shop at Ruth’s House (Ruth’s House, Inc.) has provided clothing to those in need since opening its doors in 1992. Serving veterans, those on public assistance, children and families, and individuals served by Haverhill’s many social service organizations, Ruth’s House has been a Iifeline when needed most. In addition to the revenue from the Thrift Shop, Ruth’s House survives through fundraising, grants, personal donations, and the generosity of area businesses like its event sponsors.

$100,000 Surprise from the Cummings Foundation!

Haverhill, May 30, 2018 – RUTH’S HOUSE is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program. The HAVERHILL-based organization was chosen from a total of 597 applicants, during a competitive review process. Cummings Foundation has announced a total of $20 million in grants to Greater Boston charities in the past two months alone.

Ruth’s House is in its 26th year of providing clothing to those in need within the Merrimack Valley.

Representing RUTH’S HOUSE, Board President Barbara Donegan and Board Member Harriet Brooks  will join approximately 300 other guests at a reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $220 million to Greater Boston nonprofits alone.

Our Board President, Barbara Donegan, upon hearing we would be receiving the Cummings Grant said “I’m so excited!  Ruth’s House is very thankful that the Cummings Foundation has chosen to help us to continue to serve the needs of many in our community who require job training and the basic necessity of clothing.”

Ruth’s House plans to use the grant to hire a Fundraiser Program Manager whose efforts will enable us to continue our mission of offering job opportunities and providing clothing to individuals and families who are in need of our services.

The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 11 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“We are indebted to the nonprofit organizations like RUTH’S HOUSE that have a meaningful positive impact on the local communities where our colleagues and clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are delighted to invest in their important programs and services.”

This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention and affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.

Cummings Foundation announced an additional $10 million in early May through its new Sustaining Grants, which extend “$100K for 100” funding for previous winners for 10 more years. Beginning in 2019, the Foundation will increase its total annual giving through these two programs from $20 million to $25 million.

About Ruth’s House

The Thrift Shop at Ruth’s House opened its doors in a small location in Haverhill in 1992.  It was begun by a woman who realized there were many people like herself and her son who were in need of decent clothing, but couldn’t afford to shop in regular stores.  Divorce, Joblessness, Disabilities, Homelessness, Domestic Violence, and Mental Illness are all conditions that can lead to poverty and the need for help in fulfilling basic needs, of which one is clothing.  These are the individuals and families who are welcomed at Ruth’s House. For many adults attaining job skills are a way to bring hope and dignity to their lives which is why Ruth’s House offers job training opportunities to so many in the community.

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Bill Cummings released his self-written memoir, “Starting Small and Making It Big: An Entrepreneur’s Journey to Billion-Dollar Philanthropist,” in March 2018. The book may be purchased at

Ruth’s House also offers job training, marketable skills to local community

HAVERHILL — With a name like Ruth’s House, some might think it’s a shelter for those in need or maybe a soup kitchen. 

Whether you’re a disabled veteran in need of a winter coat, a family leaving a shelter for an apartment and in need some furniture, or a school child who can use a backpack, Ruth’s House provides these and many other things to make life a little better for so many people throughout the Merrimack Valley.

Even if you’re not a client, Ruth’s House is a charitable thrift store where anyone can shop and find a bargain — with proceeds going to help continue the organization’s mission of providing clothing and job training opportunities to those in need.

“Our referral clients receive four, $50 vouchers per year they can use in our thrift shop in Lafayette Square,” said Jessica Bolduc, director of marketing and community outreach for Ruth’s House. “They can use the vouchers to purchase clothing for children and adults, kitchen items, home furnishings, women’s purses and many other things that help bring some ease and happiness into their lives. It’s one less thing they have to worry about.”

Ruth’s House served 2,367 referred clients last year, with 922 of them being under the age of 18. And that doesn’t include how many members of the general public stop by to shop.

The majority of clients are referred to Ruth’s House by local shelters such the Emmaus in Haverhill and Lazarus House in Lawrence, churches, Community Action, veteran’s services organizations and agencies that provide public assistance and other organizations serving those in need.

“If they are not referred by a church or a shelter or some other organization, we ask that our clients simply register with us by stopping by and filling out a referral application,” Bolduc said.

With vouchers in hand, clients can go on a shopping spree for new or gently used essentials. Everything is priced at a steep discount, such as T-shirts for one or two dollars each, jeans for $5, office clothing such as suits for $15 to $20, and children’s outfits for $5.

“Our referral coordinator, Ruby Bruno, will walk a client through the store to figure out what they can use and how much they can get with their vouchers,” Bolduc said. “All of our clients are very grateful for what they receive. A lot of times women will have their children with them and the children are very excited about getting new clothing. Especially back to school clothing to start the new school year.”

The shop is able to restock its shelves through the generosity of the public. 

“We’re always accepting new and gently worn clothing, as well as furniture that we can arrange to pick up, as well as donations of jewelry, accessories, household goods, small electronics and other items in good working condition,” Bolduc said.

Ruth’s House also offers job training opportunities through various agencies including the Department of Transitional Assistance, Career Resources and the Senior Network.

“We also provide skills training for those looking to reenter the job market,” Bolduc said.

Ruth’s House also offers a complimentary book program. Referral clients can choose two free age-appropriate books from the thrift shop’s book section for children under the age of 18.

“We have lots of children’s books as well as novels and cook books that older readers to choose from,” Bolduc said.

As a thrift shop, there are great deals to be found on items ranging from DVDs and CDs at 99 cents each, two books for 99 cents, as well as brand name boutique women’s clothing and accessories, jewelry, special occasion dresses, men’s suits, sweatshirts, shoes, hats, and other articles of clothing for adults, teens, young children and infants.

The store also has a furniture department with items such as new and gently used couches, office chairs and desks, baby cribs, bed frames and headboards, dining room tables and sets, end tables, lamps, home goods including toasters, waffle makers and coffee makers, all pre-tested and in working condition, as well as dinner ware, table linens, silverware, cooking utensils, kitchen gadgets and more.

If you’re in the market for an electronic organ, Ruth’s House currently has one in stock.

“Some people think that Ruth’s House only caters to our referral clients, which is the heart of our organization, but we also serve the general public,” Bolduc said. “Whether you are in need of a gift or you are simply looking for a bargain, Ruth’s House is the place to go.”

Ruth’s House also offers a Senior Coat Program. Along with a warm winter coat, qualifying seniors also receive a winter hat and a pair of gloves.

To qualify you must be over 55 years old (identification is required) and have proof of enrollment in one of the following programs: Mass Health, SSI, Food Stamps, Social Security Disability, Nutrition Programs and Veteran’s Aid Fuel Assistance.

A signed referral from a participating agency, house of worship or ministry is also required. Hours are by appointment, Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Please call 978-521-5575 to schedule your appointment.

“We have many winter coats available, but we continue to welcome community donations of new or gently-used winter coats, as well as monetary donations to help supplement this program,” Bolduc said. “With temperatures continuing to drop, it’s our hope to get the word out to Seniors in need about our Coat Program.”

Ruth’s House is currently running its annual holiday raffle featuring a small Christmas tree decorated with $400 worth of lottery scratch tickets. Raffle tickets are $5 for two tickets, $10 for five tickets and $20 for 12 tickets. Either stop by Ruth’s House or email and include your name, address, phone number and the amount of raffle tickets you would like to purchase. You will receive a link for payment through PayPal.

Ruth’s House is open Monday through Saturday for the holiday season. Visit online at

Helping struggling people during the cold season


HAVERHILL — Ruth’s House will be providing free winter coats to people over 55 years of age, along with a voucher to select items from its thrift store as part of its Senior Coat Program.

Gloves, hats and scarves are included.

To qualify you must be over 55 years old (identification is required) and have proof of enrollment in one of the following programs: Mass Health, SSI, Food Stamps, Social Security Disability, Nutrition Programs and Veteran’s Aid Fuel Assistance.

A signed referral from from a participating agency, house of worship or ministry is also required. Hours are by appointment, Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Please call 978-521-5575 to schedule your appointment.

Many winter coats are available, but Ruth’s House continues to welcome community donations of new or gently-used winter coats to help supplement this program.