For Individual Volunteers, NOT Groups

Throw a Cookout for Lonely, Formerly Homeless Elders

Three PMD volunteers clad in matching green aprons prepare lunch plate for a frail elder in 2015


  • Saturday 8/10/2024, 9:30am-1:30pm
  • Sign up by 7/31/2024
    ~10 volunteers are still needed.


Provide 20-40 lonely and frail, formerly homeless elders with a special lunch and good company

If we have enough volunteers, we can serve delicious food: hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages with pepper and onions, falafel, potato salad, watermelon, and more! Please help out and thus make this possible!

Optional: Arrive and/or stay 45 minutes earlier/later to help set- and/or clean- up, since PMD has no summer interns.
This is an opportunity for people who need volunteer hours to increase them AND help where needed!

Optional: Donate $12 or more to help us purchase the groceries we will use. There is a financial hardship option in the registration process, so please do not let an inability to donate deter you from signing up to help.


Boston's South End

Note: PMD only shares specific directions, maps, and other details with registered volunteers since we cannot accommodate any walk-ins, i.e., unregistered volunteers simply showing up.


Since 1997, PMD volunteers have been making and sharing home-style meals with isolated, frail, formerly homeless elders now permanently housed by Hearth, purchasing all of the groceries and organizing and staffing every aspect. During the pandemic, PMD volunteers switched to homemade cards and treats for our elderly friends. In August 2023, PMD returned to its popular, in-person meals and in-person socializing that volunteers and elders alike enjoy.

HEARTH advocates on behalf of homeless elders, reaching out to, identifying, and assisting homeless elders in Boston, providing housing and services for this often neglected, vulnerable population. Volunteer labor and donations for the groceries make this project possible.

Regardless of whether one volunteers on 8/10, anyone can help underwrite the cost of groceries by donating using any method listed at - Please remember to designate your gift for "Cookout"



To participate, register yourself by 7/31 at

Volunteers age 18 and older must also authorize a criminal history record by (1) completing PMD's official authorization form AND (2) providing a high-res image/scan of current, government-issued photo ID to PMD by 7/31.

PMD canNOT accept any UNregistered, walk-in volunteers.

For volunteers ages 13-17, a parent/guardian must also co-sign printouts of both PMD's waiver/release and PMD's Health Reporting Form, and for volunteers younger than age 16, a parent/guardian must also register individually and participate fully with the minor.

Call PMD if you cannot register online using qualtrics.
CALL THE PMD OFFICE at (*82) 1-781-963-0373 so that we can help you AND troubleshoot the problem so that other potential volunteers will not face the same problem. Thanks!

After you register successfully, you will see a confirmation screen and receive a confirmation email message, so be sure to save the date and times on your calendars AND add [email protected] to your address/white/allow list.
Then a few days before this project PMD will email specific details in a PDF, including directions to the project site by public transit and by car*, what to wear/expect, checklist, map, and release form for minors that a parent/guardian must co-sign and provide at at check-in on 8/20 -- Volunteers age 18+ provide their consent when registering online, to minimize paper/printing/contact.

*We discourage folks from driving since it is difficult to find affordable, legal parking closer than public transit.
There is virtually no visitor parking available and 2-hr limits on metered parking nearby.
Expensive, garage parking at the hospital, or private, spothero-like parking may be available but cannot be guaranteed or subsidized.



This project requires being in excellent health (and living with others who are also).

Cooking experience not required, but volunteers must be able to follow simple recipes and instructions to prepare, cook, and reheat ingredients safely, as well as to serve and clean up, while standing most of the time outdoors or in a hot kitchen, and like all PMD projects, participation for an entire project (4 hours).

This is a fragrance-free event, meaning that participants must not wear perfume or cologne, or scented skin, hair, facial, or clothing/laundry products.

We recommend volunteers be age 14 or older, but will accept mature, younger volunteers accompanied by individually registered and fully participating adults.
Parents/guardians registering youth under age 14 should enter the youth's age as 14 when registering online, but enter the youth's true age as a Comment at the end.

For 31+ years, public charity People Making a Difference (PMD) has promoted informed and responsible volunteerism by involving people in tangible work that meets local needs and by assisting companies in building successful community involvement programs that:
  • Produce appreciable results while conserving recipients' limited resources.
  • Educate volunteers about broader issues.
  • Bring people together to make a difference.



"At Hearth we just don't put a roof over the head of a person who's been homeless; we give them a place to live." -Anna Bissonnette, Hearth Co-Founders

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