WHO WE ARE
The Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center is a not-for-profit organization serving Wyandanch and surrounding communities. Our dedicated staff, volunteers and donors believe that we must follow God’s call to meet the needs of others – one individual at a time. It is our challenge and commitment to live out the words of Bishop Gerald Ryan for whom our center is named.
WHAT WE DO
Our Outreach Center transforms the lives of families, individuals and children who are struggling to break the cycle of poverty. We do this by providing food, clothing, education and employment opportunities, hope and compassion for those in crisis.
JOE GIBBONS REPORTS THE LATEST ON "TUESDAY'S SHELTER" after the FIRST TUESDAY OF 2018....FRIGID AS THE DICKENS, BUT A SMOOTHLY RUN OPERATION--HELPING OUT AT LEAST 2 DOZEN guests with food, shelter, and more:
JANUARY 4TH, 2018
Dear Father Bill Brisotti,
A summary of our first night at the shelter:
12 degrees, not including wind chill, on Tuesday night! 25 people stayed the night, with 3 local men joining us for dinner only. 3 additional local men came to the shelter from the train station at 2:00 AM, literally freezing. Each had a full dinner, then went directly to bed. There were only two women on this night, so we took some of the cots from the Women's Section and put them into the main hall for the men.
The TV and DVD movies are so popular. Everyone sits in the dining area enjoying coffee & cookies and just watches. I keep the flicks going 'til 3:00 AM, as some men come in and go right to sleep....but then get up a few hours later to eat. We ask whoever is still up at 3:00 AM to please retire for a few hours sleep. New movies are provided each week--as so many guests are "regulars".
We let everyone sleep an extra hour until 6:30 AM, and the OLPH Van came at 7:00 to take the guests to the Babylon Train Station to start their day. I cannot let them leave while it's still dark outside.
Of our 2 dozen+ guests on January 2nd, 5 asked me for help in finding jobs and permanent rooms to rent. Here is where Noelle and the Outreach Center step in and start case management.
Per standing policy, we do not start such conversations. It's up to our homeless friends to do so; this way we can be more certain that they are committed to helping themselves. A room to rent means you share a kitchen and bathroom with everyone else who rents a room in the house (usually many people).
This is a positive first step toward independence with DSS and Outreach support. Seven of our homeless guests from 2017 now have jobs (and pay taxes) and rooms--and these folks are strong motivators for the others.
Special thanks to those who make this shelter work:
- Dotty Desimone for running the kitchen & making 50+ plates of food for dinner, premaking breakfast, and making fresh sandwiches and lunchboxes which we distribute as the people leave.
- Ricardo Solandra and Jerome Hendrix for taking the 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM shift and helping the cleanup and putting the cots away.
- The Outreach Staff for working all day and then helping serve the dinner until 10:00 PM.
- Rotcho and Harbor Seafood for their continued generous support of all our initiatives.
- Bobby Patch (St John the Baptist Varsity Basketball Coach from East Islip) who has taken the 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM chaperone spot for the past two years.
- OLPH van crew who pick up the homeless and bring them to the Parish Hall.
- Foods of Italia who donate our Chicken Soup each week.
- Tom Fiorini who is always there to support any Outreach effort.
This week we had a few new parishioners who helped with the setup and kitchen duty; we welcome their involvement. We thank everyone for their support. FYI: we expect the headcount will increase and level off at 45 - 50 in the next few weeks as word gets out locally. There will be lots of work to do during the long winter.
Best Regards, Joe