Debbie’s Treasure Chest was founded in 2007 to provide aid and support for disadvantaged and at-risk families in the Merrimack Valley and surrounding areas. It began with three adopted children, Maxine and Talia Harvey and their friend Anna McCabe, reflecting on how very lucky they were to have been adopted by loving families, capable of supporting them. The trio wanted to give back to their community, and to reach out a hand to those children who had not been as lucky as they. For several years before founding, the three had collected toys to donate to foster children through the Department of Children and Families, aided by their favorite social worker, Debbie D’Lorio. Sadly, Debbie passed away in 2006, but her influence lived on as the girls’ charitable project received its name.
In its first holiday season, donations to Debbie’s Treasure Chest filled the Harvey family garage - seven times over - with toys and gifts for donation. In 2007, DTC opened their first warehouse, donated by Sal Lupoli and Susan Leger Ferraro. The initial project of holiday giving turned into a year-round effort, with the children leading their local community in collecting and distributing over 50,000 items of clothing, books, and toys to deprived and at-risk families in the area. In 2010, Anna McCabe moved on to other endeavors, but the Harvey children remained steadfast in their desire to help local families and continue their work at DTC. The organization moved to Everett Mills, into a larger and wheelchair-assessable warehouse donated by Marianne Nadel and National Fiber Technology. In 2015, Harvey Girls, Inc. was federally approved as the 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity that operates Debbie's Treasure Chest.
The operations of DTC have grown to include many new programs beyond their warehouse, which has presently served over 2000 families. Their primary focus is on clothing, books, and toys, as well as brand-new toiletries, scholastic tools, and other necessities. They have held an annual coat drive, providing over 1000 coats hand-picked for local children within the past 5 years. They have expanded their toy drive to work with local police and firefighters in granting every possible holiday wish they receive. Just this year, DTC has implemented a new leadership program for teens, the Susan Paul Sirkman Leadership Program, which fosters the message at the heart of DTC; giving back to the community and supporting the disadvantaged is just as relevant and important for children as it is for adults.
Debbie’s Treasure Chest is staffed, in part, by differently-abled adults from a local school. We are also open to local volunteers; Harvey Girls, Inc. is a completely volunteer based organization, and we are gravely concerned about its sustainability as time goes on. Maxine Harvey is a sophomore attending college, and Talia Harvey is a sophomore in high school; while these girls are still committed to their charitable efforts, they can’t maintain and expand the good works of Debbie’s Treasure Chest alone. We recognize that we need a part-time staff member to focus on growing DTC’s charitable programs and managing our established projects, especially as Talia prepares to enter college. We have received many requests for people wanting to come help in our warehouse, but our volunteers are available only a short part of the day. We’d like to have people be able to utilize our resources and expertise for their own community service needs, but we have no one who is free to supervise on a regular basis. We are growing at such a rate that we could productively use a staff person at the warehouse every work-day, but since we do not have the funds to do so, we cannot compensate anyone for volunteering full-time. Three young children started a remarkable project that has grown beyond what we once dared to dream. We are sincerely hoping that your wonderfully generous donations will consider helping their dream grow even more, to expand its reach and help those in who are deprived and in need to remain alive and well no matter the circumstances of their birth.
Maxine Harvey, Co-Founder
Maxine Harvey, age 21, started Debbie’s Treasure Chest when she was just 11 years old. She was recently recognized for her efforts as the recipient of the Helen Diller Tikkun Olam Award where she received a $36,000.00 stipend. She was awarded the ALANA Leadership Award last year as well. She has received numerous governmental citations from United States Senators Kerry, Markey and Warren, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, State Senators Baddour and Ives, Representative Campbell, and Mayors Manzi and Zanni. Maxine serves as the President of Harvey Girls, Inc. Currently, Maxine is a senior and Presidential Scholar at Clark University majoring in psychology.
Talia Harvey, Co-Founder and CEO
Talia Harvey, age 17, started Debbie’s Treasure Chest when she was just 7 years old. She has received the JFK Making a Difference Award for her work. She has recently started the Susan Paul Sirkman Leadership Program, where she has recruited over 20 middle schoolers to participate. She has received numerous governmental citations from United States Senators Kerry, Markey and Warren, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, State Senators Baddour and Ives, Representative Campbell, and Mayors Manzi and Zanni. Talia acts as the Chief Executive Officer of Harvey Girls, Inc. Currently, Talia is an honors student at Methuen High School in her junior year.