Today the General Donovan School at 50 Cross Street is a 100% volunteer initative, with the City of Lawrence's generous loan of the building. It houses many projects and programs that serve our community.
It is used as a drop-off site for donations of furniture, clothing and household goods. Many families visit daily to receive donations. One project that assists local families is the distribution of donated coats to any individual in need.
Local residents are welcome to sign up for for free classes held at the school for ESL, Computer, Literacy, Citizenship, Sewing and Crochet. Space is provided for local community groups and organizations to meet. Some of the groups are the Ministry of Salvation and Help, Puerto Rican Union, New England Puerto Rican Alliance, Movimiento Puertoriqueño and Catholic Charities.There are also has two community rooms available to local groups for meetings and conferences.
Over its 35 year history, the Community Service Center has been instrumental in the fundraising for several crises that have affected the community such as fires and natural disasters, both locally and overseas.
One example is on January 21, 2008, the City of Lawrence experienced a fire that left several families homeless. In an effort to assist these families, Isabel Melendez, the CSC Director, approached Mayor Michael Sullivan for help. The CSC was receiving numerous donations and needed a drop-off site. Mayor Sullivan offered the location which was formerly the Saunders School at 243 Broadway Street. The Saunders School became a focal point for many of the displaced families to start over. It expanded to serve any family that needed help. In 2009, the Saunders School was sold to private developers to convert into apartments and the CSC Drop-Off Site was displaced but not for long. Mayor Sullivan then offered the General Donovan School located at 50 Cross Street so that these efforts could be continued. Community volunteers stepped up and helped to clean, paint and retile most of the classrooms.