Our History

Today, our Ministry has 50+ full and part-time staff, 5000+ volunteers, and 6500 donors working together to serve the most vulnerable people of Lawrence, MA – people struggling with material poverty, homelessness and food insecurity. We are a community. We are a family. We welcome all in the name of God and treat each person with dignity and respect.

We are a community
We are a family
We are on a Mission from God

But how did we get here? Will you believe Mother Teresa of Calcutta?

When Brother Tom Petit, a Marist Brother and native of Lawrence MA, went to India in 1981 to care for the poor, he met Mother Teresa. During the last days of the mission, Mother Teresa called the volunteers from around the world together and talked about the worst poverty being poverty of the heart and spirit. She then asked if there was anyone in the room from North America. When Brother Tom was the only attendee to raise his hand, she spoke directly to him and said ….. “Go back and serve the poor in your own community.”

Brother Tom did just that. He came home to Lawrence and began making plans to take care of the materially poor right here in the Merrimack Valley. By 1983, he and a group of faithful volunteers opened the LAZARUS HOUSE Emergency Shelter.

The rest as they say, is history!

  • 1981

    Our History

    “Go back and serve the poor in your community.”
    – Mother Teresa

  • 1983

    A Homeless Shelter

    Lazarus House Ministries – opens on Holly Street and an advocacy program begins. It began with 5 beds!

  • 1984

    The Good Shepherd Thrift Store

    The Good Shepherd Thrift Store offers the community the dignity of choice in shopping for affordable clothing and household goods in a clean, well-merchandised store.

  • 1986

    The Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen

    The Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen begins serving breakfast and lunch. This Soup Kitchen had four card tables and fed 60-70 people a day. Now, there are nine banquet-style tables and we provide nutritious, culturally relevant meals to 200-300 Guests per day.

  • 1987

    St. Martha’s Food Pantry

    The St. Martha’s Food Pantry begins distributing groceries to the community from the Shelter driveway.

  • 1993

    Corpus Christi

    Opened Corpus Christiresidential programs to assist individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. 

  • 1998

    ESOL Classes

    English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes begin, along with our Spark* L.E. Cleaning company to offer work preparation. 

  • 2007

    Capernaum Place

    The transitional housing program at Capernaum Place opens, a 20-unit apartment building where families live safely while being supported and guided by our Advocacy team, having access to financial literacy programs and learning to budget.

  • 2010

    Food Pantry Facility

    The St. Martha’s Food Pantry opens on Hampshire Street, providing Guests a true grocery-store experience where welcome, respect, choice and dignity are the foundation.

  • 2011

    Culinary Program

    The first Culinary Program’s trainees graduate and are hired full-time with benefits at the restaurants where they interned. 

  • 2013

    Capital Campaign

    Our first-ever capital campaign surpasses our goal of $5 million to better serve the increasing number of people coming to us in need.

  • 2015

    Ishah House

    Ishah House, a nine-bedroom Victorian home, opens as a Pilot transitional program for single, at-risk, and homeless women. 

  • 2018

    35th Anniversary

    Lazarus House celebrates its 35th anniversary of serving the most vulnerable in the Merrimack Valley.

  • 2019

    Bridget Shaheen Retires

    Longtime Lazarus House Executive Director Bridget Shaheen retires, leaving behind a legacy of love. Reverend Jeff Hassel is welcomed as new Executive Director.

  • 2020

    COVID-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the Lawrence Community, with disease spreading at twice the state average and unemployment at 5 times the state average. Lazarus House focuses resources on Food, Shelter and Clothing and pivots to safely meet the ever-increasing need for food in the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. Renovations to the Holly Street Shelter provide 5 private family suites, meeting the safety and psychosocial needs of single homeless moms and their children.

  • 2021

    Strategic Plan

    Lazarus House embarks on a 3-year strategic plan for the Ministry to meet the growing and changing needs of the Community.

  • 1981

    Our History

    “Go back and serve the poor in your community.”
    – Mother Teresa

  • 1983

    A Homeless Shelter

    Lazarus House Ministries – opens on Holly Street and an advocacy program begins. It began with 5 beds!

  • 1984

    The Good Shepherd Thrift Store

    The Good Shepherd Thrift Store offers the community the dignity of choice in shopping for affordable clothing and household goods in a clean, well-merchandised store.

  • 1986

    The Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen

    The Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen begins serving breakfast and lunch. This Soup Kitchen had four card tables and fed 60-70 people a day. Now, there are nine banquet-style tables and we provide nutritious, culturally relevant meals to 200-300 Guests per day.

  • 1987

    St. Martha’s Food Pantry

    The St. Martha’s Food Pantry begins distributing groceries to the community from the Shelter driveway.

  • 1993

    Corpus Christi

    Opened Corpus Christiresidential programs to assist individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. 

  • 1998

    ESOL Classes

    English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes begin, along with our Spark* L.E. Cleaning company to offer work preparation. 

  • 2007

    Capernaum Place

    The transitional housing program at Capernaum Place opens, a 20-unit apartment building where families live safely while being supported and guided by our Advocacy team, having access to financial literacy programs and learning to budget.

  • 2010

    Food Pantry Facility

    The St. Martha’s Food Pantry opens on Hampshire Street, providing Guests a true grocery-store experience where welcome, respect, choice and dignity are the foundation.

  • 2011

    Culinary Program

    The first Culinary Program’s trainees graduate and are hired full-time with benefits at the restaurants where they interned. 

  • 2013

    Capital Campaign

    Our first-ever capital campaign surpasses our goal of $5 million to better serve the increasing number of people coming to us in need.

  • 2015

    Ishah House

    Ishah House, a nine-bedroom Victorian home, opens as a Pilot transitional program for single, at-risk, and homeless women. 

  • 2018

    35th Anniversary

    Lazarus House celebrates its 35th anniversary of serving the most vulnerable in the Merrimack Valley.

  • 2019

    Bridget Shaheen Retires

    Longtime Lazarus House Executive Director Bridget Shaheen retires, leaving behind a legacy of love. Reverend Jeff Hassel is welcomed as new Executive Director.

  • 2020

    COVID-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the Lawrence Community, with disease spreading at twice the state average and unemployment at 5 times the state average. Lazarus House focuses resources on Food, Shelter and Clothing and pivots to safely meet the ever-increasing need for food in the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. Renovations to the Holly Street Shelter provide 5 private family suites, meeting the safety and psychosocial needs of single homeless moms and their children.

  • 2021

    Strategic Plan

    Lazarus House embarks on a 3-year strategic plan for the Ministry to meet the growing and changing needs of the Community.

“Go back and serve the poor in your community.”
- Mother Teresa

The Good Shepherd Thrift Store offers the community the dignity of choice in shopping for affordable clothing and household goods in a clean, well-merchandised store.

The St. Martha’s Food Pantry begins distributing groceries to the community from the Shelter driveway.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes begin, along with our Spark* L.E. Cleaning company to offer work preparation.

The St. Martha’s Food Pantry opens on Hampshire Street, providing Guests a true grocery-store experience where welcome, respect, choice and dignity are the foundation.

Our first-ever capital campaign surpasses our goal of $5 million to better serve the increasing number of people coming to us in need.

Lazarus House celebrates its 35th anniversary of serving the most vulnerable in the Merrimack Valley.

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the Lawrence Community, with disease spreading at twice the state average and unemployment at 5 times the state average. Lazarus House focuses resources on Food, Shelter and Clothing and pivots to safely meet the ever-increasing need for food in the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. Renovations to the Holly Street Shelter provide 5 private family suites, meeting the safety and psychosocial needs of single homeless moms and their children.

1981
1983
1984
1986
1987
1993
1998
2007
2010
2011
2013
2015
2018
2019
2020
2021

A homeless Shelter - Lazarus House Ministries - opens on Holly Street and an advocacy program begins. It began with 5 beds!

The Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen begins serving breakfast and lunch. This Soup Kitchen had four card tables and fed 60-70 people a day. Now, there are nine banquet-style tables and we provide nutritious, culturally relevant meals to 200-300 Guests per day.

Opened Corpus Christi – residential programs to assist individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS.

The transitional housing program at Capernaum Place opens, a 20-unit apartment building where families live safely while being supported and guided by our Advocacy team, having access to financial literacy programs and learning to budget.

The first Culinary Program’s trainees graduate and are hired full-time with benefits at the restaurants where they interned.

Ishah House, a nine-bedroom Victorian home, opens as a Pilot transitional program for single, at-risk, and homeless women.

Longtime Lazarus House Executive Director Bridget Shaheen retires, leaving behind a legacy of love. Reverend Jeff Hassel is welcomed as new Executive Director.

Lazarus House embarks on a 3-year strategic plan for the Ministry to meet the growing and changing needs of the Community.

“Go back and serve the poor in your community.”
- Mother Teresa
1981
A homeless Shelter - Lazarus House Ministries - opens on Holly Street and an advocacy program begins. It began with 5 beds!
1983
The Good Shepherd Thrift Store offers the community the dignity of choice in shopping for affordable clothing and household goods in a clean, well-merchandised store.
1984
The Good Shepherd Soup Kitchen begins serving breakfast and lunch. This Soup Kitchen had four card tables and fed 60-70 people a day. Now, there are nine banquet-style tables and we provide nutritious, culturally relevant meals to 200-300 Guests per day.
1986
The St. Martha’s Food Pantry begins distributing groceries to the community from the Shelter driveway.
1987
Opened Corpus Christi – residential programs to assist individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS.
1993
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes begin, along with our Spark* L.E. Cleaning company to offer work preparation.
1998
The transitional housing program at Capernaum Place opens, a 20-unit apartment building where families live safely while being supported and guided by our Advocacy team, having access to financial literacy programs and learning to budget.
2007
The St. Martha’s Food Pantry opens on Hampshire Street, providing Guests a true grocery-store experience where welcome, respect, choice and dignity are the foundation.
2010
The first Culinary Program’s trainees graduate and are hired full-time with benefits at the restaurants where they interned.
2011
Our first-ever capital campaign surpasses our goal of $5 million to better serve the increasing number of people coming to us in need.
2013
Ishah House, a nine-bedroom Victorian home, opens as a Pilot transitional program for single, at-risk, and homeless women.
2015
Lazarus House celebrates its 35th anniversary of serving the most vulnerable in the Merrimack Valley.
2018
Longtime Lazarus House Executive Director Bridget Shaheen retires, leaving behind a legacy of love. Reverend Jeff Hassel is welcomed as new Executive Director.
2019
The COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the Lawrence Community, with disease spreading at twice the state average and unemployment at 5 times the state average. Lazarus House focuses resources on Food, Shelter and Clothing and pivots to safely meet the ever-increasing need for food in the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. Renovations to the Holly Street Shelter provide 5 private family suites, meeting the safety and psychosocial needs of single homeless moms and their children.
2020
Lazarus House embarks on a 3-year strategic plan for the Ministry to meet the growing and changing needs of the Community.
2021