This Saturday, about 2,000 volunteers from local churches, businesses, organizations and social service agencies as well as elected officials will gather to help hundreds of local families at Hempstead’s second annual Convoy of Hope outreach. “There’s been such a need in Hempstead communities...the outreach is to service [them] and give them resources,” said media director Esmeralda Roberts.
East Rockaway PTA presidents Andrea Mansfield, Michelle Gamache and Christine Delvalle made donations on behalf of the East Rockaway PTA and donated about 1,000 books. Charmine Sorbara, Lisa DeMonte and Keri Benvenuto of the Lynbrook PTA donated close to that amount of books, crayons and coloring books.
Convoy of Hope is a faith-based organization founded in 1994 that works to feed those in need. When asked how it came to Hempstead, Roberts explained that the Rev. Steve Milazzo, pastor of Bethlehem Assembly of God in Valley Stream, initially saw a need within the town. “Pastor Steve did some research on Convoy of Hope and was really the anchor of the church,” she said.
Bethlehem Assembly has played a major role in planning the event for Hempstead, and Roberts says that “the whole church family will be there this weekend.” More than 70 churches in the area have donated items for the event or will be represented there, including Hempstead Assembly of God and Shelter Rock Church.
According to Roberts, Premiere Care was a huge help, sending cash donations of $800 and about 1,500 pens, in addition to providing doctors for Saturday. Convoy of Hope has also received donations from Arizona Beverage, Carmine Ferraro Building Corp., Random House, Astoria Federal Savings, Secure Door and Hardware Inc., KLOVE, Freedom Chapel, Jesse Gonsowski and many others.
Lunch, health screenings, haircuts, resume-writing assistance and more than 2,000 pairs of shoes and 75,000 pounds of groceries will be provided for residents. Activities, such as family portraits, games, live entertainment and an inflatable kids’ zone will be available. Groceries will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The main goal is that residents leave knowing how to get help, Roberts explained. They will have access to information about issues like teen intervention, job services and food stamps; resources will be provided for battered women, recovering alcoholics and others seeking help.
The event will be held, rain or shine, at Mitchel Athletic Field, 1 Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Uniondale, NY 11553 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.li.convoyoutreach.org.