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Our monthly drop-in-days in the Mission House basement at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin provide clothing, toiletries, blankets and social services to the street homeless, the low-income seniors and all the needy in the Times Square neighborhood. We also allow people to access our clothes closet between the drop-in days if they have a need for clothing and toiletries. Our volunteers also provide a sympathetic ear and a calm, supportive presence to people who sometimes just need to talk. We also provide coffee and snacks.

Our December event was attended by about 45-50 homeless and low-income people and by several volunteers from the church. Volunteers from Project FAIR and the Economic Justice Clinic at the New York Legal Aid Group also were also on hand to assist people with things like Social Security and health benefits, housing issues and other social service topics. NYLAG volunteers included Christopher Portelli (an attorney who supervises NYLAG) attorney Marta Mychak (Public Benefits staff attorney), attorney Deb Berkman (the supervisor of the homeless Shelter Advocacy project), and Jesse Daniels, (PBU paralegal and Avodah Fellow.)

“There have been many times when I sit in my office after a successful drop-in-day with tears in my eyes, thanking God for giving me the opportunity to serve these people,” said Sr. Monica Clare, the organizer of these events. “The many donors, volunteers and friends who make this ministry a reality would all say they feel the same way.”

Our next drop-in-days are Saturday January 27 and Saturday February 24. We could not sustain this ministry without the help of St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters, who have generously donated hundreds of toiletries and even hundreds of peanut butter sandwiches to our guests. It’s through partnering with other homeless ministries in this area that we can serve the growing needs of the homeless and the poor.