The trees used in the annual Christmas tradition of collecting clothing for Oswego’s needy children currently remain in the churches, and decorations labeled with needs specific to the current drive will be hung on the trees.
Aiding the homeless was designated February’s cause, and the trees were decorated with paper hearts made by the children of the Faith Formation classes. Parishioners selected the hearts and provided the articles requested on them. The articles collected were donated to Oswego County Opportunities.
Jill Griffey, Homeless Services Program Manager of OCO, was extremely grateful for the churches’ donations. She said, “Last year, 2153 individuals were helped to gain housing stability through the efforts of OCO.” Additionally, the agency works to prevent homelessness by assisting at-risk families and individuals. It often supplies food and hygiene items in emergency situations and operates an Emergency Youth Shelter which assists youth ages 16-20 who have no safe place to stay. OCO then works with these young people to find safe housing for them.
The donations the churches provided last month will be well used. At times, OCO homeless clients lose their belongings because they possess only what they can carry on public busses. Young people entering the shelter often do not have much to bring with them. Clients often struggle to buy everyday items due to their housing instability. OCO’s street outreach team, which assists individuals on the streets, is grateful to be able to offer items of warmth while working to find those in need safe housing for the night.
Griffey stated that assistance for those in housing crises can be obtained through offices at Oswego Midtown Plaza, DSS, and high schools in Fulton, Oswego, and Phoenix. The Crisis Hotline is 315.342.7618.
The weekly church bulletin of St. Joseph and St. Stephen the King Churches describes the membership as An All Embracing Family. Parishioners are committed to making this phrase a way of life rather than a mere description.