In the July 19th issue of Newsday, Nicolaus Mills wrote The new face of homelessness. Here is an excerpt from that article:
“These days poverty is less and less a remote phenomenon. In the last decade, those living under the poverty line in the suburbs grew by 66 percent while the overall suburban population barely changed. Even having a job is no guarantee of staying out of poverty any longer; 7.2 percent of those the government says are employed are living below the poverty line, and 150 million Americans are no more than two paychecks away from falling into poverty. In our high cost-of-living region, the stakes can be even higher.”
Mills shows us a side of suburbia that we would rather not see. Yet we cannot avoid seeing the poverty that surrounds us. We see it in the faces of the men, women and children that we encounter wherever we go. We see it in the for-sale signs that pop up in our neighborhoods. We see it in the empty storefronts and abandoned strip malls. We see it in the soup kitchens of Long Island.
If there was no poverty in our community, there would be no need for a soup kitchen. The Patchogue Neighbors INN has four soup kitchens, all located in the Village of Patchogue. We serve more than 350 meals per week to our guests in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Our volunteers range in age from 16 to 87 and come from many backgrounds and income-levels. The satisfaction of being a volunteer comes partly from the realization that you are helping a neighbor to get through a difficult time.
Right now our Saturday morning soup kitchen at St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church needs volunteers to help set up and serve breakfast to our guests. We are actively recruiting individuals who would like to try their hand at this. You do not need to make a long term commitment nor do you need to volunteer every week.