Making a Difference
All through the day and night, Grace Church Community Center in White Plains serves as "An Oasis of Hope" for less fortunate men and women, children and the elderly. We do more than help them through the day. We also guide and support them during their transition from hopelessness troubled to hopeful.
GCCC can restore hope for people facing difficult situations such as those profiled here. Examples of the work done through the Community Center are profiled here:
At The Samaritan House For Women
Awakening to a new day, a woman rolls out of bed in the safe and secure environment of GCCC's Samaritan House thankful that her nights on the street have ended. Feeling rested from her stay (the shelter provides up to 7,000 night stays to women each year), her thoughts shift beyond planning for more than mere survival to the endless possibilities for her future. The shelter's free case management services will help her map out a positive direction to achieve her goals. Thanks to GCCC, she knows that many women like her have gone on to lead stable, healthy and productive lives.
Through Neighbors Home Care Services
Legally blind and limited by arthritic pain, an elderly woman clings tightly to her walker as she eases herself into a comfortable chair. Thanks to the state-licensed Neighbors program that assists elderly and disabled persons, she looks forward to her weekly phone call from a volunteer and the delivery of groceries that will fill her near-empty pantry. Tomorrow morning, a personal care aid will visit her at home for four hours assisting her with bathing and escorting her to a doctor's appointment. In the afternoon, a registered nurse will stop by for a follow-up exam.
Visiting the Soup Kitchen
Two more men and a woman enter the GCCC Soup Kitchen. Trays in their hands, they gratefully accept a plate of free food from kitchen staff and volunteers. For many of the working poor and the homeless, their activity revolves around getting their primary nourishment of the day. A hot, balanced meal leads to warm conversation with others they've come to know. They also have a chance to learn about other GCCC programs that can help them survive and often recover from hard times. A look around reveals dedicated volunteers from community organizations, corporations, religious organizations and schools. A hearty serving of love accompanies each meal. The Soup Kitchen also provides a safe, civilized place to relax, a newly renovated bathroom, and clothing or food to take away, as needed.
At the Summer Day Camp
Thanks to the five-week GCCC Summer Day Camp, 150 hundred children are enjoying their favorite time of the year in ways that would otherwise be impossible for many of them. Even the bus ride to the camp featured laughter and excitement. The morning sun adds to the warmth of love that will be shown to 5-13 year olds, many from homeless or low-income families. After breakfast and chapelsinging, their day will include arts and crafts, sports, lunch and swimming. Other summer highlights will include an Olympic Day, Carnival Day, a fashion show and reading instruction. The camp staff now mentors more than 100 of these students during the school year.
At the Rainbow Drop-In Center
You can tell by their smiles that 15 30 developmentally disabled young adults are glad it's Wednesday. Every week, they look forward to challenging events, meeting friends, sharing a meal and learning new skills through the free GCCC Drop-In Center program. Group activities such as photography and visits to parks create pleasant memories. The next three hours of fun will go fast ... next Wednesday will not come quickly enough. Through the related Saturday morning Rainbow Outreach Program, 23 learning-challenged children, adults and their families will also have their lives improved through referrals to other support agencies and by participating in stimulating activities together.
Through Housing Services
As the last light of day slips away, people living in 95 more than 300 apartments subsidized in part through the GCCC Housing Services program are thankful to have a roof over their heads. So are others including people suffering from mental illness, substance abuse and AIDS/HIV who staved off eviction thanks to program support. Legal help, relocation assistance, utility payments and budget counseling continues to play a critical role in keeping these people from joining the ranks of Westchester County's homeless population.
Through the Open Arms Program for Men
A passing thunderstorm wakes up a man, who a few weeks ago was out of money and living on the street. He's not being soaked by the rain anymore since being helped by the free GCCC Open Arms program for homeless, single men. His sense of hope was renewed the past afternoon after a meeting with a staff case manager. He'd like to join the more than 700 people Open Arms has assisted to find permanent housing over the past 15 years. Substance abuse care, job training, psychiatric care and other services are available if needed. Comforted, he can rest easy knowing that this program will be here for him tomorrow.