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

From our home to yours: December 2022

Here at Bethany House, we often say, “The average person spends 365 hours a month at home. Imagine… what it’s like not to have one.” During the holiday season, many people gather with family and friends in their homes and, for a moment, everything feels right in the world. Imagine having no home to go to, or no home to call your own. It is always a trying situation being homeless, but during the holiday season, it is especially difficult. At Bethany House, we are determined to make this a season of love, joy and hope for women, and women with children, who are struggling through the challenges of homelessness.

Over the past several weeks, the people of Nassau County have turned out in force to assure the women, and women with children, at Bethany House that they are loved.  Our Bethany House extended family of faith-based organizations, community groups and warm-hearted families and individuals have given their time, talents and treasure to assure our Bethany House guests that there is hope for their future.

If you have already donated in response to our annual appeal to support the individuals and families we serve, we thank you for your compassion and generosity.  If you have not yet been able to do so, we ask for you to consider donating in support of the work we are doing together to move individuals and families experiencing homelessness through transition to stability. You can donate here, and know that your monetary gift is providing hope for a promising future to our guests and their children.

Thank you for all that you do for our guests struggling through the many challenges associated with homelessness.

We wish you, your families and friends a holiday season filled with joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Festivities

Happy Autumn from Bethany House! Autumn is a time for change, back to school, and planting. The start of this season was a busy time for us at Bethany House, as we helped the moms get their children ready to go back to school. Thanks to our amazing community of corporate and individual donors, volunteers, and faith-based organizations, we were able to ensure that every one of the students was well equipped and well dressed for a successful school year.

In September we welcomed four new interns: Stephanie Blackwell, Social Work intern from Molloy University; Kelly Haims, Social Work intern from Fordham University; Gabriela Hernandez, Mental Health Counseling intern from Bellevue University; and our own bi-lingual Case Manager, Jazmine Tavarez-Herrera from Adelphi University. The interns will be working in all of our homes, assisting our guests as needed. We welcome the energy and excitement they bring to our mission. We are also excited about the activities the interns have planned to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

On September 14, 2022, Calvary Tabernacle, in Hempstead, New York, hosted a Pray and Paint event in our home for all of our guests. It was a wonderful event, and we learned of the many hidden artistic talents of our guests. 

For the month of September, Horton’s Flower Farm, in Riverhead, New York, graciously donated to Bethany House a portion of the proceeds from their sales for the month. On September 24, 2022, several members of the Bethany House executive team took a trip to Horton’s, enjoyed the outdoors, and picked and arranged beautiful bouquets. Several of the beautiful bouquets were delivered to each of our homes.

In October, Stop & Shop has once again chosen Bethany House as the recipient of their environmentally-conscious Community Bag Program.  Throughout October, Bethany House will receive $1 for any $2.50 reusable bag purchased at the Merrick Mall store. 

As we move forward into the remaining months of this year, we are looking forward to many celebrations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, thanks to the many generous individuals, groups, businesses and organizations who graciously support Bethany House. We are extremely grateful for the returning supporters and for new supporters we have connected with this year, who are partnering with us to ensure that the women and children in our homes have a joyous holiday season.

‘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!