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Going Homeless For The Holidays

Posted in: Bourne News, Front Page Stories
Dec 12, 2008 - 12:14:19 PM

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Bourne Firefighter Dana Dupuis of Bourne, PIXY 103’s Matthew Barry of Forestdale, Mr. Dupuis’ wife, Kim Dupuis, Firefighter Matthew Weston and Kathy Poirier, wife of Bourne Firefighter Craig Poirier, warm themselves at the wood fires as rain fell yesterday. The group, along with a few other Bourne firefighters, will be camping outside of the Bay Motor Inn throughout the weekend as part of the Bourne Fire Department’s seventh annual Homeless For the Holidays’ food and toy drive. Mr. Dupuis said the goal of this year’s drive is to raise at least $15,000 and as many toys as possible. DON PARKINSON/ENTERPRISE
BOURNE- The Bourne Fire Department’s seventh annual “Homeless for the Holidays” food and toy drive got underway Wednesday.
Yesterday afternoon, Firefighter Dana A. Dupuis stood outside of the Bay Motor Inn, the location of this year’s 103-hour fundraiser, warming himself by a wood fire as a light rain fell.  His mood was surprisingly upbeat, especially for a man who will be sleeping outside for three days, until Sunday.
He chatted with Matthew Barry from PIXY 103, the fire department’s partner in running and promoting the event.
Like Mr. Dupuis, Mr. Barry’s outlook was sunny, despite the rain. “It’s a time for me to sit back and reflect but also do something good,” he said.
Mr. Dupuis, who seven years ago helped fellow department member Craig Poirier establish the fundraiser, said the event was off to its typical slow start for donations.
It tends to build momentum as the weekend draws closer, he said.
Mashpee-based rock band Chaindrive, which features Mashpee firefighters Dave Farren and Steve Bold, will perform tonight from 7 to 9 and Santa Claus will be making nightly visits from 6 to 8.
In addition to raising money, food, and toys, the purpose of the event is also to raise awareness about homelessness.
Even before he began participating in the drive seven years ago, Mr. Dupuis said he had some insight into the plight of the homeless through his day-to-day work with the fire department.
However, that perspective becomes even sharper while camped out on a cold evening.
“The cold weather really does it,” he said. “It’s definitely a challenge to try to stay warm.”
This year will be the first “Homeless for the Holidays” not held in front of the Mezza Luna Restaurant, which burned to the ground in October of 2007 and is currently in the final stages of being rebuilt. 
The owners of the Bay Motor Inn offered the front of their lot as the site for this year’s drive while construction is completed on the restaurant.
Other local establishments have pitched in as well. The Fraternal Order of Eagles on Cohasset Avenue provided a spot for a kick-off party for the fundraiser last Friday evening that raised more than $600, and local restaurants, like Nick’s House of Pizza and Buzzards Bay House of Pizza, provide food.
Local landscaping companies have provided wood for the fire, and other businesses have given goods that will be raffled throughout the four-day event.
It takes a lot of work to make Homeless for the Holidays a success, Mr. Dupuis explained, but community-focused projects such as these are the crux of a fire department’s mission.
“It usually goes that, if somebody doesn’t know what to do, they call the fire department,” he said. “Pretty much anything you can think of, if somebody can’t think of what to do, they call the fire department. That’s what we do, we try to get stuff done, and try to take care of business. It’s not always possible but we always give it a try.”