The Sisters of St. Joseph Brentwood Mission Fund has been able to offer grants to two important community organizations this year, one at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch, and the other at Hospitality Too Soup Kitchen at St. Anne’s Brentwood. Sister Nancy Fackner, who has been volunteering at the Hospitality Too Soup Kitchen for the past 12 years, nominated the program to receive the grant of $10,000.
Hospitality Too is an Interfaith organization incorporated in 1992. Their mission is to serve those in need, promote respect for human dignity, and provide an opportunity for others to serve. Director Bob Fitzgerald, Co-Director Mary Ellen Lyons, and a Board of Directors are responsible for the development, function and evaluation of the project. All persons are volunteers. Besides offering a hot nutritious meal every Saturday, they offer basic essentials, food pantry, used clothing, wash up kits, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to homeless shelters, referrals to Outreach and Pronto for housing assistance, health care and legal issues. The mission resonates with our CSJ Charism “To live and work that all people will be united with God, one another and all of creation.” Hospitality Too has many partnerships in our service to the most vulnerable- The Ancient Order of Hibernians, St. Anthony’s High School, Brentwood Schools, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Campbell Bakery, Long Island Harvest and Long Island Cares to name a few.
Their weekly gatherings are filled with dedicated volunteers, adults and teenagers, who serve 150-200 men, women, and children each week – and more on holidays! Community is strong, guests are treated like family, and people say they feel loved and accepted. It soon becomes clear that food is only a part of what Hospitality Too offers their guests! Since its earliest days, Sisters and Associates have volunteered and supported Hospitality Too Soup Kitchen and Peanut Butter and Jelly Gang.
Now with Covid-19, they have not been able to provide sit down meals or indoor activities to guest. They have reorganized and are striving to meet the challenges of food insecurity in the neighborhood. St. Anne’s Parish Outreach Office is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and Hospitality Too on Saturday for distribution of food. They are grateful for help from Island Harvest, Long Island Cares, and donations from many generous supporters. They keep a small group of volunteers so they can follow guidelines to keep everyone safe – about 4 to 6 volunteers help bag and distribute food packages to those in need, when they come on Saturdays the church parking lot is always full!
In the last few months, they have served about 928 households (4387 individuals). They see many of the guests who came for dinner. The grant from the CSJ Mission Fund is a blessing in these challenging times when they try to assist families with unmet needs. Giving drink to the thirsty, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked in this age of racism and pandemic becomes more relevant every day as we further the mission of the Gospel, working for a more just and peaceful world.