These are challenging times for those who are citizens of the United States and, especially, for refugees who come to Long Island and the metropolitan area every year looking for a better life, a home to live in and a job that they can feel proud of and to be able to buy food for their families.

However, during the winter months and because of the cold weather, including the shortage of the types of work that unskilled men or womn can do, many depend on local soup kitchens and shelters provided by churches until they can become established in a community. Men usually find work with contractors as laborers or landscapers during the warmer months. Women look for housework or light factory jobs to help with expenses. It's during these below-normal temperatures that creates hardships for many, who would much rather be employed than sitting in a soup kitchen or a shelter to stay out of the cold.

Throughout New York City and all of Long Island, the Lutheran Social Services, known as Life Shield a well- respected legal service for immigration-related issues has helped many families untangle their paperwork even providing temporary housing for an entire family. Good Shepherd Church in Plainview, St. David's in Massapequa Park and others throughout Long Island offer day care, pre-school, nursery school and kindergarten classes at a reasonable tuition to allow parents with limited means to enroll their children and allow both parents to work. St. David's cooking group, known as the Soup Spoilers, cooks up 20 gallons of soup twice a month and delivers it to the (INN) at Freeport's Church of God Community Center, 146 Babylon Turnpike, where 225 free hot lunches are served five days a week.

With the economy in turmoil in the United States and around the world, the need for volunteers to man soup kitchens and finding temporary housing for disaster victims has become a huge challenge. During 2008, the United States had to deal with forest fires, floods, bridge disasters, mud slides, ice storms and hurricanes. Without the professional and volunteer assistance from community and city fire departments, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, service and fraternal organizations, religious groups and concerned neighbors pitching in, many men, women and children would have lost their lives. Disaster assistance is provided by volunteer groups at no cost to those affected; however, financial contributions from corporations and individuals and the donation of time from volunteers are always welcome.

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