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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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Serving the Hungry and Homeless

As we start the New Year, I want to call to your attention a wonderful organization on Long Island which helps many in need. The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network) was founded in 1983. First serving people in the Village of Hempstead, the INN now has 19 soup kitchens across Long Island with 1,500 volunteers.

In addition to feeding the hungry at the soup kitchen, the INN operates three shelters, as well. And homeless veterans are also served in cooperation with the VA Medical Center in Northport.

Beyond need and shelters, the INN provides Supporter Services which include counseling, life skills training, home management and access to vocational training. Clearly, the objective of the INN is to provide self-sufficiency for guests.

Back in 1983, nine INN was created by Pat O’Connor. A mother of nine and Michael Moran who at that time was a Chaplain at Hofstra University. Chaplain Moran had been taking student volunteers to work in a Brooklyn soup kitchen when he realized that there was a need on Long Island. He then advertised for volunteers to help on Long Island and had 30 responses, including Jean Kelly, an advertising executive, who is now the executive director at the INN.

Each year the INN provides over 320,000 meals to adults and children. In these tough economic times, the demand for meals has increased, placing additional pressure on the staff and volunteers at the INN.

The INN has many success stories, but the one you are about to read is an example of the fine work the INN does day in and day out.

While in the Long Term Housing Program, a formerly homeless family, consisting of a single mother and four children, has been successful in achieving goals of self-sufficiency. This single mother is about to graduate from college with her Master’s Degree and will be moving into homeownership.

There are many ways in which you can help the INN in its fine work. Volunteers are always needed to help prepare meals and to help with various special payments every day. You can also donate food, as well. Canned soup, vegetables, fruit, tuna fish, peanut butter and other items are always welcome. To coordinate food donations or volunteering, just call (516) 486-8506 ext. 115.

You can also donate clothing and furniture along with personal care items. Such items are always in need. For further information, call the Donations Department at 516-8506 ext. 117.

Finally, financial contributions are always welcome. In addition, vehicles can also be donated. If you would like the website – www.the-inn.org. Start your New Year off by supporting the INN. You will not be disappointed.

Robert McMillan Website: www.bobmcmillan.net