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Lynn nonprofit looks to provide holiday gift cards to homeless youth

This article was published 2 year(s) and 6 month(s) ago.

The Haven Project's Fredy Hincapie and Heather Lanen sort through some of the goods and gift cards that the organization has collected during their annual holiday drive. The items will be donated to homeless young adults. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — Lynn-based nonprofit, The Haven Project, Inc. is working to ensure the homeless young adults it serves are able to enjoy their holidays. 

Haven Project founder Gini Mazman said the organization is collecting gift cards, funds and presents through its annual holiday drive, which will be distributed to their clients.

“Particularly in the last two months, we’ve really doubled the young adults we’re seeing, so we’re going to need a lot more gifts,” said Mazman. “The more we can give out, the better, so people can buy what they need.” 

Mazman said people can donate gift cards, purchase an item from the Amazon wish list that has been set up for the holiday drive, or donate funds directly to the Haven Project website or mail a check, which will be used to purchase gift cards.

The Haven Project works with approximately 220 unaccompanied, homeless young adults, ages 17-24, each year, which involves providing stabilization services to help them secure employment and housing, Mazman said.  

In addition to case management, and English as a second language class support, The Haven Project also runs a social enterprise in downtown Lynn, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee, which provides employment opportunities for its clients, Mazman said.  

However, since the COVID-19 pandemic has affected business at the cafe, the nonprofit has been working with My Brother’s Table to provide employment opportunities, Mazman said. 

The Haven Project is currently working with about 52 unaccompanied youth, which is reflective of young adults becoming stable and then moving on from the social services organization. Still, Mazman considers the caseload to be pretty significant right now. 

The organization started collecting for its holiday drive last month, said Mazman, noting that the response has been good so far. The drive will benefit those young adults currently receiving services, she said. 

“The young people that we’re working with not only don’t have a place to stay, but they don’t have anyone to kind of acknowledge and celebrate them at birthdays or particularly around the holidays,” said Mazman. 

“We’ve found that by providing them with gift cards, it just makes them feel important and noticed by somebody. Then it allows them to choose what they need or want for themselves.” 

This year has been challenging for everyone, especially the clients the Haven Project works with, noted the organization in a flyer for the holiday drive, a sentiment that was echoed by Mazman.

“We certainly know that there’s a lot of people in need this year,” she said. “If people are able and willing to donate we would certainly appreciate it.” 

For more information about the holiday drive, including how to donate, visit The Haven Project website at or send an email to

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