by: Dan Kress, Albany Helping Hands Executive Director
As I write this we at Albany Helping Hands are attempting to stay cool in the hot weather. Our cooling center has been open during the heat wave with ice water and air conditioning for anyone who may be suffering from the heat, especially important to those homeless who are physically impaired.
It has come to my attention that of the two ovens we have in the Kitchen, one oven does not work and the second unit is working intermittently. To date we have replaced parts and had the ovens professionally repaired, but unfortunately the old kitchen ovens are not reliable. I am concerned about meeting the hot food demands this winter, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the current ovens lack of reliability and the ongoing heavy daily usage, I am troubled that we may not be able to prepare needed hot meals at a special time of year.
In August we served 6,747 meals to the community. At Albany Helping Hands we serve anyone who comes to eat, regardless of their situation. Last Thanksgiving and Christmas we served about 300 holiday meals each.
We are quite proud of our professional kitchen, food storage, and excellent inspection scores. But the need for a replacement professional oven will cost $3725.00, plus install.
With Christmas just around the corner it’s time to plan the gifts handed out after Christmas dinner. These gifts are generally items that our thrift store does not have and are of a personal nature. We need gift items like socks, T-shirts, undershorts, women’s garments, coats, shaving items, hair shampoo, gloves, scarves, soap and so forth.
We make up a few toy gifts for children since we have families that come in for Christmas dinner that are handed out to all that dine with us as available. With the receipt of these gifts many people feel that someone cares during the holiday season. We support these gift bags with new as well as donated items either new or second hand. Last year our additional supportive cost for the gifting was about $925.00.
In 2014 we were able to distribute 135 Christmas gifts sacks including about twenty for children. We have been close or at Shelter Capacity this spring and summer and expect the holiday season need to be greater than last year. Donations to support this effort are greatly appreciated by all.
Lastly, we have had such a good response from the community in helping with the needs here at Albany Helping Hands that I want to state a heartfelt thank you for caring.
Many of the people I see here daily are not only needing food and shelter, but are not capable of sustaining themselves because of mental illness or physical impairment.
It is sad to see people who may be eligible for help but not even be capable or willing to accept it. At Albany Helping Hands we consider ourselves to be God’s helping Hands and be able to help those who fall through the net. At the same time, we encourage those who are capable to get the tools they may need and learn to integrate into the community.
We have lots of information on services, programs, training, our retail operations, and community resources online at our new web site AlbanyHelpingHands.com or please come visit us. It is your gifts and support that make it all possible.