2024 Breakfast for Hope: Celebrating 50 Years of Human Connection

Samaritans held its 2024 Breakfast for Hope on Friday, May 17, at the Boston Park Plaza, celebrating 50 years of human connection. Over 400 people attended in person and virtually, and came together to raise over $576,600 for our lifesaving programs. During the event, Samaritans honored our Lead Sponsor Keolis Commuter Services, and highlighted the Lived Experiences of suicide loss and attempt survivors from the Samaritans community.

“Amidst the big plans and strategic initiatives, it’s the personal stories that truly remind us of why we do what we do…The people in our community have a profound ability to steer into their pain, to show each other compassion and understanding, and to support each other without judgment,” said Kathleen C. Marchi, Chief Executive Officer and President of Samaritans.

To be vulnerable is not weak. To be vulnerable is strength. You matter. You belong here. You are not alone.

The keynote speaker was Kiara Hernandez, a Helpline Training Coordinator at Samaritans and suicide attempt survivor. Kiara gave a powerful and moving address, discussing the stigma around suicide and mental illness in communities of color, her own mental health struggles, and her journey to help others through her work at Samaritans. She also highlighted a new Samaritans initiative she is collaborating on to launch a peer support group for survivors of suicide attempts like herself.

“To those who have tried taking their life and are still here, I stand in solidarity. If you are currently struggling with thoughts of suicide, please know there is help out there. To be vulnerable is not weak. To be vulnerable is strength. You matter. You belong here. You are not alone,” said Kiara.

A video featured stories from five community members, who courageously shared what brought them to Samaritans, and how the organization has helped them.

“My children have been involved with Samaritans, I have been on the board for a number of years, and Samaritans…they’ve been my lifeline,” said Donalda Hingston, who lost her son Edward to suicide in 2001.

Kennedy Elsey of Mix 104.1, a Samaritans Board Member, also described her own experience of being helped by Samaritans during a critical moment.

“Samaritans not only saved my life, they helped me save someone else’s life,” Kennedy said.

Samaritans gave a special recognition to Lead Sponsor, Keolis Commuter Services. Keolis CEO Abdellah Chajai expressed his dedication to the newly expanded partnership between Samaritans and Keolis that will train 900 frontline Commuter Rail personnel to recognize and respond to a person in a mental health crisis.

“Working on prevention, increasing our employee awareness, helping them to spot riders and even colleagues who struggle, is the right thing to do. And I am so grateful to have the partnership and expertise of Samaritans to help us do it,” said Abdellah.

2024 Breakfast for Hope: Celebrating 50 Years of Human Connection

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Thank you to our sponsors for partnering with us to prevent suicide and help people find hope in human connection.

Kathy Marchi and Abdellah Chajai

Expanded Partnership with Keolis Commuter Services

Together, Keolis and Samaritans are destigmatizing mental health and preventing suicide.

Breakfast for Hope 2024


Browse photos from the 2024 Breakfast for Hope.