Bethany House featured in Newsday: “Meet 5 pros who recruit volunteers for LI’s nonprofits”

“From a conversation, you are never sure what’s going to happen,” said Jane McCabe, volunteer coordinator for Bethany House of Nassau County, which runs three emergency shelters and two transitional homes for single women and women with children.

McCabe, 66, of Rockville Centre, who is married and has two grown children, began volunteering at Bethany House in 2011, two years after leaving a 30-year career at a trade journal. Volunteering to bake cakes, set the dinner table and help babysit children one night a week offered McCabe an opportunity to listen to personal stories, helping her “understand the women and children better and see what they needed.”

After in-shelter volunteering was suspended as a pandemic precaution in 2020, McCabe still wanted to contribute. “I posted about volunteer opportunities often on the local RVC Moms Facebook page, and as a result people often contacted me and asked how they can help,” she said. Aware of McCabe’s social networking savvy, Bethany House hired her as a part-time volunteer coordinator in 2020.

As COVID-19 cases waned in the summer of 2021, volunteers returned and now number about 55 regular volunteers, she said. Nowadays she’s fielding inquiries from about 50 prospective volunteers each month. McCabe said she will “size up what they like to do, what they can do and what we need them to do.”

Among her fans is Ryan King, 16, a member of South Side High School’s Bethany Buddies, a student club. Ryan said he felt “terrified” on the first day he volunteered until McCabe “made me feel welcome.”

“She walked me in, and basically she showed me around the house and introduced me to everyone, which made me feel more at home,” Ryan said.

Volunteers also include Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, college students, and about 100 individuals and organizations, McCabe said. For her efforts at Bethany House, McCabe was recognized as a 2019 Woman of Distinction at a New York State Capitol ceremony.

“Bethany House has been around since 1978 and is very well known in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said McCabe. That, along with McCabe’s people skills, has yielded unusual donations: fresh-baked cupcakes, free hairstyle makeovers for the women, and a 55-inch smart TV.

“The residents are loving it,” McCabe said of the TV. “And it all came from a phone call.”

https://www.newsday.com/beta/long-island/li-life/volunteer-nonprofit-work-professional-bnchzfdb

“Combating homelessness with the Branford Marsalis Quartet”

Over 80 patrons of Molloy University’s theater program gathered last week to raise money for Bethany House, which helps woman and children experiencing homelessness.

Bethany House, which has facilities in Baldwin, Bellmore Roosevelt and has sheltered the homeless for more than 40 years, partnered with Molloy, a longtime supporter, to host a fundraiser at Molloy’s Madison Theatre last Friday. It featured Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet. 

The event began with hors d’oeuvres and beverages at a pre-concert reception in the Larini Room, on the second floor of the theater.

Lisa King, a board member of Bethany House and a co-chairwoman of its development and communications committee, explained that the concert was a collaborative effort between the organization and Molloy, which have partnered in the past to raise money for the shelters. At the annual Boxtown event, Molloy students camp out in boxes in the campus square to simulate a night of homelessness, and raise money for woman and children experiencing the real thing. 

King said that Ellen Foley, a Bethany House volunteer, came up with the idea for a fundraising performance at the theater after visiting with her family last year. Foley said that her husband, Jack, suggested that she and her colleagues at Bethany House partner to create a combined event. 

Zimmerman said she discussed the idea with other members of the Bethany House board, and the organization and the university joined forces. 

Angela Zimmerman, the director of alumni relations at Molloy and a fellow Bethany House board member, said that Molloy is a natural partner for Bethany House, because their missions complement each other. Bethany House, like Molloy, Zimmerman said shares values much like Molloy’s four pillars — study, service, spirituality and community. 

“Through our office of development,” Zimmerman explained, “Molloy University students have done everything from social work to mental health counseling to speech pathology at Bethany House.” 

At the same time, she added, by supporting homeless women and their children, Bethany House effectively roots out homelessness two generations at a time.

Edward Thompson, Molloy’s vice president for advancement, said that Nassau County residents have an obligation to help others who are down on their luck, as Bethany House does. He is motivated not so much by charity, Thompson said, as by an obligation to Molloy’s mission to serve the community and help the downtrodden.

Doug O’Dell, executive director of Bethany House, said that it differentiates itself from other shelters because it is a community organization as well. Some people come to Bethany House, he said, because they are struggling with financial issues, domestic abuse or substance abuse, and there they can feel safe, recover from their trauma and prepare to take on the world again. 

“You walk into one of our Bethany homes and you smell the food cooking, and see a decoration that says, ‘You’re welcome here,’” O’Dell said. “They then know that they’re home.”

Molloy President Jim Lentini said he was impressed by the work Bethany House does for woman in Nassau County, and was committed to maintaining the longstanding relationship between the organization and the university.

Lentini was impressed by Marsalis’s performance as well. “Branford Marsalis and his quartet displayed a rare form of jazz artistry in what was a spectacular concert,” Lentini said. “Their set of original compositions was performed with a kind of nuance and sophistication that only master players can execute. And they did so, beautifully. The full house in Madison loved every minute of the performance, which drew enthusiastic applause after each solo and throughout the evening.  It was a great night on the Madison stage.”

Silva, Andre, “Combating homelessness with Branford Marsalis”, https://www.liherald.com/baldwin/stories/combating-homelessness-with-the-branford-marsalis-quartet,160465 January  26, 2023

‘Tis the Season of Giving!

Bethany House is overwhelmingly fortunate for the outpouring of community support all year round, especially towards the end of the year, when Thanksgiving and winter holidays come upon us.  Every day staff and those involved with Bethany House receive inquiries asking how to help.  

Donate! Monetary donations make a great impact on the work we are able to do in our programs and every bit can help.  Visit www.bhny.org/donate to donate today!

Transportation is a major challenge for many of our guests.  MetroCardsUber gift cards and Lyft gift cards are tremendously useful and always needed!

Purchase items from our Amazon Wish List HERE!  Our guests continuously provide feedback on what they need and we update their requests on the wish list, accordingly.  Non-perishable foods and paper goods are always needed!

Donate a meal.  We are so fortunate to have so many of our delicious meals provided to us from the community.  Contact our Volunteer Coordinator Jane McCabe at janemccabe@bhny.org to donate today!

 

Grateful for Grants

Thank You, Assembly Member Judy Griffin!

Assembly Member Judy Griffin (District 21) has been a staunch advocate of Bethany House since her first election to the New York State Assembly in 2018.  She has a long history of volunteerism and advocacy in the local community, and her Assembly committee participation reflects her priorities and those of her constituents.  Judy is the Chair of the Commission on Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes and is a member of the following committees: Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry; Environmental Conservation; Government Employees; and Higher Education. She is also a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Task Force on Women’s Issues (https://www.assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=021&sh=about).

Bethany House is indebted to Assembly Member Griffin for successfully sponsoring three legislative grants on behalf of Bethany House, most recently for $60,000, for a three-year total of $100,000 to date.  The first two were used to support the general operation of the programming in the houses, and the most recent grant will be earmarked for a Senior Case Manager for our Safe Ground for Families Transitional Services initiative.  This funding is essential to ensuring excellent services and optimal outcomes for the women, and women with children, residing at Bethany House.

Cooking with Class!

Danielle O’Toole, a retired personal culinary instructor, recently began offering cooking classes at one of our homes. After reviewing possible menu ideas with our guests, she comes with the chosen meal fully cooked, as well as all the ingredients to cook the meal with our guests watching her instruction.  Her class is similar to the many cooking shows offered on television. Danielle goes through all the steps needed to prepare the meal, explaining what she is doing, the techniques being used, and ways to keep within a set budget.

For September, she showed our guests economical ways to prepare fried chicken, creamed spinach (you wouldn’t believe how easy it is!) and mac n’ cheese. While preparing the meal, Danielle offers tips as well as affordable and simple ingredient ideas to jazz up a meal.  Danielle enlists her circle of friends to contribute toward the cost of the prepared and instructional meals. Bethany House is extremely grateful to Danielle for the generous donation of her time and expertise, and to her friends for the ingredients for the delicious meals. The women at Bethany House are eagerly awaiting their next lesson and meal!