The Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative Begins its 13th Year
In July of 2005, Lawrence Downes of The New York Times wrote an article entitled, “A Hidden Camp, an Open Shame,” about the homeless men living in the woods near the Huntington train station. The previous fall, 2004, in response to that situation, a partnership was formed between the non-profit Family Service League and the local faith community to find alternative shelter for this group of homeless men during the winter months. Now ten years later, Huntington’s “hidden” homeless can still count on having a warm, safe place to sleep seven nights a week during the coldest months of the year.
When the first HIHI respite night starts this year on December 1st , the homeless in our town will have the opportunity to be warm, dry and well-fed every night of the week until the last day of March. ESL training, AA meetings, and health care referrals are available for the 25 to 35 guests who stay nightly at HIHI respite sites. The HIHI program now has its own coordinator/social worker, a paid screener who breathalyses each potential guest and screens them each night before they are permitted to board the van for transport to the church respite site, and a paid security guard who stays with the volunteer chaperones all night.
For four months, hundreds of volunteers from more than 30 Huntington area houses of worship, Christians and Jews, young and old, live out God’s Word, cooking and serving meals, setting up bedding, chaperoning, driving vans, cleaning, and doing the laundry so that the homeless in our community won’t have to go hungry or sleep in the cold this winter.
These homeless people are mostly Hispanic day-laborers who do in-season lawn maintenance work. They are friendly, immensely appreciative, helpful individuals who came here from Mexico and Central and South America, hoping to be able to find work.
The messages preached this fall have been about demonstrating the servanthood that Jesus taught and modeled by putting our faith into action. We have heard how each one of us, despite time limitations, age, experience, or comfort level, can help to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable among us.
We ask that you please take a minute to fill out the form below and offer your services with other CUMCers joining our team of volunteers. Our HIHI weekends this year are 12/03-04, 12/31 - 1/01/17, and 1/14-1/15 and 3/04-05.
Please fill out and tear-off this form and place it in the Offering Plate or give it to Meredith Fichtel (631-271-4429, firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank You and God Bless!
COUNT ME IN TO HELP WITH HIHI !! 2016-17
Phone # _________________________