MARY’S CORNER AT SMJC: We have been successfully open for three months and have steadily expanded the number of families and children served including lots of new babies! We are taking Family Needs orders over the phone as well as via email. We are primarily working with caseworkers from various agencies to get bags home-delivered to families and a few of our volunteers are making deliveries to St. Vincent’s Food Pantry for the refugee families and to Hope House for Women and Children once a month. This is working out so well and cuts down on the number of contacts volunteers and families have. We wanted to avoid families’ lining up on the street for long periods of time waiting to be served. It is also more convenient for the families who have school children learning from home.
We have a wonderful team of people who have been working at the Daughters of Charity to keep it neat and organized with clothes being sorted constantly, a team who packs bags twice a month and delivers them to SMJC and a team at SMJC who finishes packing the bags, gives out the bags and completes the paperwork. Through Healthy Families of Albany County, we have been able to serve some of the families who live in Cohoes and Watervliet as well.
MARY’S CORNER IN COHOES: We are finalizing plans to begin a soft opening in Cohoes in November. It took quite some time to find a location that would allow us to have a place for families to complete their Needs form. We are grateful to Holy Trinity Parish for allowing us to set up in their space. We had a setback when we discovered a leaking drip in a storage room that had produced soggy carpeting and some mold. We are so grateful to the City of Cohoes who promptly repaired the leak and ceiling tiles and cleaned the carpet and mold.
We have canvassed volunteers and a number of people have said they would like to volunteer and would do anything needed. At this point, we have all tasks filled. We are basing operations on our experience with the SMJC. Families will be able to fill out the Family Needs form at the Holy Trinity Parish; bags will be packed at the distribution center and handed out to the families at the Mary’s Corner site in Cohoes. We will be open once a month to start. We hope in the near future to work with Watervliet Housing with a similar process.
DONATIONS: We have received many donations of handmade baby blankets and afghans, baby layettes, infant and toddler sweaters and fleece blankets from individuals and groups. We received an anonymous donation of 25 pairs of girls’ brand new rain boots.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO “OUR ANGEL” HELEN: Helen is a woman (who wishes to remain anonymous) who has brought brand new clothing to Mary’s Corner two to three seasons a year for the past many years. In August, she brought us 50+ brand-new winter coats/snowsuits, boots and hat/mitten/scarf sets. If not for her extreme generosity, we would not be able to assure each child a warm winter coat, hat and mittens. God bless you Helen for keeping these families in your heart.
DISTRIBUTION CENTER: Due to the sale of the Daughters of Charity campus, we are in need of another location to store the Mary’s Corner inventory. For more information or to share any ideas, please contact Mary Clinton at firstname.lastname@example.org, Candice Stellato at email@example.com or Ellen Bernier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.