United Methodist Night at the Ballpark

Showers of Hope offers help for homeless

People who are homeless or don’t have access to showers will soon be able to take them, thanks to a group of volunteers and churches led by St. Patrick’s Church in Binghamton.

Called Showers of Hope, the project consists of buying a van equipped with a sink, shower and private dressing room. The van will be parked at various places, including the parking lots of local churches, so that those who need it can use it. All that is needed to run it is a garden hose and a power supply, said Barb Donnelly, a parishioner at St. Patrick’s and one of the organizers of the project, along with Mickey Carbo.

“This is what we should be doing,” Connelly said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Showers of Hope is part of the Outreach Ministry of the Southern Tier and includes other projects, including a recent sock drive for the homeless, Connelly said.

The idea for the project belongs to the pastor of St. Patrick’s, Rev. Monsignor John Putano.

“I was inspired by what Pope Francis did in Rome when he established a place in St. Peter’s Square” where homeless people could take a shower and get a haircut, Putano said. “We also heard of other places that offer similar services, and all of this encouraged us to move forward.”

The idea was discussed in St. Patrick’s and St. Thomas Aquinas parishes, along with representatives from the Coalition for the Homeless of the Southern Tier, Catholic Charities, the Broome County Council of Churches and other local parishes, Putano said.

Fundraising efforts are underway to help pay for the $30,000 project, Putano said. During the season of Lent in March and early April, St. Patrick’s Church held fish dinners to benefit the project.

Plans call for purchasing the van and starting the program by June, Putano said. Volunteers also hope to have laundry facilities available, along with other services, including a hairdresser and podiatrist.

There is a great need for this project, said Rebecca Rathmell, the Continuum of Care coordinator for the Coalition for the Homeless, which covers six counties, including Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Cortland, Otsego and Delaware. At least 30 to 40 people are homeless on any given night, and 80 percent are from Broome County, she said.

In preparation for the upcoming Showers of Hope project, volunteers from St. Patrick’s have spent the past few months giving away coffee, soup, sandwiches and personal care items to anyone who needs them. The bags full of toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap, among other items, were put together by students at St. James School in Johnson City.  Volunteers serve food and hand out care bags every Monday afternoon in front of the American Legion Post 80, on Main Street on Binghamton’s West Side.

“We are trying to build relationships and let them know that services are available for them,” said Rathmell, who attends the Monday afternoon gatherings and networks with homeless people.

On a recent Monday afternoon, Anne McGinnis, a volunteer from St. Patrick’s, was hard at work dishing out soup and sandwiches.

“I had no idea there was such a need in our community until we started,” McGinnis said. “Praying is good, but doing something like this is really praying with your hearts and hands.”

How to help

To volunteer or donate money, food or personal care items to the Outreach Ministry of the Southern Tier, including its Showers of Hope project, contact the office of St. Patrick’s Church at 607-722-1060.

To see the full article, go to:  http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/connections/faith/2017/05/15/showers-hope-offers-help-homeless/323015001/

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, Saturday, May 13, 2017

  1.  Collect and bag HEALTHY nonperishable* food items.
  2. Place by mailbox for letter carrier to deliver to a local food bank or pantry.

*Donate healthy, low-sodium, low-sugar items such as beans, canned tuna in water, peanut butter, soup, vegetables, pasta, pasta sauce, cereal, oatmeal and other whole grains, canned fruit, canola or olive oil and canned meats,  Please do not donate items that have expired or are in glass containers.

Awards handed out for Canstruction of the Southern Tier

JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — If you’ve been to the Oakdale Mall this week, you’ve probably noticed some interesting “canstructions.”

Awards were handed out Wednesday night for local companies participating in Canstruction of the Southern Tier at the Oakdale Mall.

Twelve Binghamton area organizations participated in Canstruction. It’s a hunger-relief competition where teams competed to design and build the giant structures.

Although it was a competition, the overall goal is all about feeding the hungry.

“We build these amazing structures the ultimate end goal is that people are fed it’s just unconscionable for us to sit on the sidelines when people are hungry in our area,” said Joe Sellepack, Director of the Broome County Council of Churches.

The cans of food will be distributed on Monday to food banks. The food will assist 90 food pantries and programs in Broome County.

Below are a list of the winners:

Jurors’ Favorite/Most Cans — IBM Endicott

People’s Choice Small — Chenango Valley STEAM and Weis Markets

People’s Choice Large — Broome-Tioga BOCES New Visions and Lockheed Martin

Structural Integrity — Broome-Tioga BOCES CTE Leadership/Skills USA and Visions Federal Credit Union

Best Original Design — Johnson City High School and Oakdale Mall

Best Use of Labels — BCK-IBI Group

Best Meal — Modern Marketing Concepts

Honorable Mention — Stantec

To see the full article, go to:  http://www.wbng.com/story/35260811/awards-handed-out-for-canstruction-of-the-southern-tier

Handel’s Messiah

U.S. Senator Gillibrand Volunteers at CHOW

Broome County Council of Churches                         Contact:  Mike Leahey
3 Otseningo St.                                                                          Title:   CHOW Director
Binghamton, NY 13903                                                           E-Mail: mleahey@broomecouncil.net
broomecouncil.net                                                                    Phone:  607.242.1730



Friday, December 11, 2015                        For Immediate Release

U.S. Senator Gillibrand Volunteers at CHOW This
Afternoon to Help 

Broome Families in Need

Senator Works alongside Local Girl Scouts Brownie Troop
to Fight Hunger this Holiday Season

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) visited CHOW (the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse) located in Binghamton this afternoon to volunteer an hour or two to help keep Broome County children and families from going hungry this holiday season.

Sen. Gillibrand, working alongside girls from Brownie Troop #30303 of Vestal, NY, sorted food items and filled meal boxes with food for area children in need. The boxes will be delivered to families with the help of area schools.

“We’re excited to have Senator Gillibrand volunteering at the CHOW warehouse,” said Joseph Sellepack, executive director of the Broome County Council of Churches, the parent organization of CHOW. “CHOW relies heavily on volunteers to achieve its goal of ending hunger in Broome County. The holidays are often a difficult time for these children and families, and these meal boxes will help spread the message of our community’s support and care for our hungry neighbors.”

CHOW has been a program of the Council of Churches since 1976 and currently provides approximately 100,000 pounds of food each month, free-of-charge, to the 62 emergency food assistance programs (food pantries and community meal sites) that it partners with in Broome County. CHOW also includes the Broome Bounty program (a food recovery program); the CHOW Farm, where volunteers grow fresh produce to be distributed through the CHOW network; the CHOWbus, a mobile market that provides a farmers market experience to low-income neighborhoods and to areas without easy access to fresh produce and healthier food; and the South Side Community Wellness Center, a new food pantry and wellness/education center on the Council of Churches’ campus at 3 Otseningo St.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary year in 2016, the Broome County Council of Churches provides critical services to those in need in our community – the hungry, elderly and lonely, disabled, sick (Hospital Ministry), imprisoned (Jail Ministry), homeless and poor, as well as to the youth of Broome County. For more information, call (607) 724-9130 or visit broomecouncil.net.


CHOW Benefit Sunday, December 13th

Neil’s Archery and Crossbow, Inc. is holding a “2015 Vegas Winter Warmup” to benefit CHOW on Sunday, December 13th. 

Location:  1460 Union Center Highway, Endicott, NY 

All donations and tournament fees will be donated directly to CHOW. 

The Tournament is open to all archers; no State or Shop affiliation is required. 

For more information and to reserve line time, call 607-953-0511. 

Spectators and archers are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to help fill the CHOW barrel.

Local credit unions come together for CHOW

Credit unions throughout the Southern Tier are teaming up with the Broome County Council of Churches to help the hungry this holiday season.

Each year, Empower, GHS, Horizons, Sidney, UHS Employees and Visions federal credit unions come together to help local organizations.

This year, the credit unions are collecting food donations for the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, or CHOW, to help fight hunger at home.

“Credit unions were founded on the principal of people helping people,” said Mario DiFulvio, president of Horizons FCU. “So we look for something to do every year. Collect food, coats, something.”

Food donations can be dropped off at any credit union location. Donations will be collected all the way up to Dec. 24. The goal is to raise 5,000 pounds of food.

“This is our busiest time of year here at CHOW. We have a lot of families that are going into the winter who struggle in our community,” said Mike Leahey, director of CHOW. “This is really the push we need to get through this because you’re dealing with a lot of different locations collecting food at one time to help us meet this need.”

If you would like to make a monetary donation to CHOW, click here.

To see the full article, go to:  http://www.wbng.com/news/local/Credit-Unions-coming-through-for-CHOW-360610021.html

Don’t forget our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event


Don’t Forget the CHOW Hunger Walk this weekend

The Walk is coming together nicely! We’ll have music, food, games, the ZooMobile, a Team mascot or two — and of course, The Hunger Walk itself! Very family friendly…

Don’t forget: This coming Sunday (September 20th): Registration at 1 pm, the Walk starts at 2. Binghamton University, East Gym – follow the signs. Pre-event donations at http://broomecouncil.net/chow/hunger-walk/