For those in need of shelter in wintertime, every Tuesday night in the Parish Hall, OLMM makes many cots available to local residents who are homeless or temporarily displaced.
practicing our faith "in the trenches"
[UPDATE.....SEE MARCH 5, 2017 ARTICLE IN NEWSDAY by scrolling to bottom of page.]
Tuesday's Winter Shelter for the homeless, located at the Parish Hall of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church, first opened its doors to serve those in need on January 5th 2016. By providing healthy food and offering sleeping accommodations for up to 20 individuals in a secure environment (as well as clean bathrooms for both men and women) the Gerald Ryan Outreach embarked on a new mission. The "2nd Season" of Tuesday's Winter Shelter will be announced very soon.
The Shelter can accommodate a dozen or so overnight guests, as well as an additional four or five for "dinner only". Some of the homeless men who live in abandoned houses locally, or in cars....greatly appreciate the food, the conversation, and company they find in the comfort of our warm and well-lit Hall.
We'd like to thank our Outreach team members, and some OLMM parishioners, for the many ways they have helped make this new venture a successful one. Additionally--Regina and Peggy from the OLPH Homeless Ministry have been helping out with welcoming visitors in, and serving them dinner. As always, this kind of undertaking requires a core group of committed volunteers, even if they are only able to help out once or twice a month. (See VOLUNTEER notice, below....thanks!)
Although a strict lights-out policy is in force after 10pm at the shelter, guests may socialize over coffee or juice in the dining area while others settle in for a good night's rest. We've found there are a number of guests who enjoy conversation as much as the basic "creature comforts" that our shelter provides, for loneliness can be as great a burden for some homeless folks as the cold is in winter.
We have been getting calls from people all over, asking us to pick up someone in need, or to pay for a cab--but we simply don't have the resources to do pickups and grant all requests. However, the OLPH Homeless Ministry has generously funded some transportation costs. Their hired cabs have driven some homeless men from the Babylon train station to us, and back to the station in the morning; so far this arrangement has been working out well.
Also deserving many thanks, by the way, are those who've provided new cots: ROTHCO Inc, AMVETS, and Rich Schaffer TOB Supervisor (who, we understand, funded this purchase out of his own pocket).
For all guests, we supply wash kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, wash cloths and towels, and a couple of other essential personal hygiene items. For those most in need, we've also been able to offer new socks, gloves, and hats on occasion--as well as coats, sweatshirts, and pants, when available.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED NOW
One important need now is "night watch"--a shared duty (as in "tag team"). In demand are: volunteers able to sit up--wide awake!--for half a Tuesday night, serving as "chaperones". If you think you'd like to, and are able to help, please contact Joe Gibbons asap @ 917.863.3988. Thank you!
ONE FINAL NOTE: FOOD / BASIC AMENITIES
If anyone would has the skills and experience to provide a meal for 10 - 15 people, we would be very grateful to have you "sign on" by contacting us asap! We have a working stove and can warm anything up. As much as possible, we try to offer a diverse and nutritious menu to our guests.
Currently, there is also a need for: towels, twin sheets and blankets--which can be taken directly to the Ryan Outreach Center in Wyandanch, adjacent to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church.