August 3, 2011 —
The soup kitchen in Monticello, formally known as the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless, probably won’t have to close its doors. At the beginning of July, Steve White, the director of the facility, announced that the organization would not receive the $120,000 it receives each year from the NYS Department of Health and, therefore, would be forced to shut down.
Since then, however, things have been looking a little brighter. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther was able to secure a contribution of $75,000 from a donor, who wished to remain anonymous, and said she would solicit more funds through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.
In the meantime, two Sullivan County residents have launched a campaign to help raise funds for the cause. Myra Rappoport said she and her friend, Lynn Skolnick, have so far convinced friends and neighbors to donate about $10,000.
She said various groups and individuals have responded in different ways. The Sullivan County Board of Realtors is going to donate proceeds from an upcoming golf outing. Residents of The Chapin Estate are arranging a group donation and are looking for an organization that might want to give a matching amount.
“But,” she said, “what we have seen more of is individual donations.” She said she and Skolnick have talked to several groups and “are trying in every way possible” to raise additional funds.
Why is she putting so much effort into this?
Rappoport said, “Every year at Christmas, I give a donation to the Federation in lieu of giving gifts to family and friends, and I have done that for 10 years. And every year, I go with my husband and a group of friends on Christmas Eve and we serve dinner. It has been a richly rewarding experience for us. For some reason, I thought it was going to be basically an elderly population, and it actually turned out to be mostly young families who were really in need.”
She said, “We’ve been really blown away by the people who have given [donations]. Some of them are second homeowners and they’ve been very kind.”
Last year, the federation delivered 40,000 hot meals at the building that houses the organization, and 130,000 individual pantry meals that clients take home for weekend eating. It also provides a place for people to use computers and receive other services.
To contribute, make checks payable to Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless and send them either to Myra Rappoport, P.O. Box 88, Yulan, NY 12792 or Lynn Skolnick, 1 Medallion Road, Kiamesha Lake, NY 12751.