Over the years the term “Anonymous” has become synonymous with generous charitable contributions coming from warm hearted people not seeking publicity but wanting to help others. In a Synagogue the term goes hand and hand with all appeals.
It is heartfelt that “anonymous” has come to the rescue of one of Sullivan County’s most recognized programs to help those in need.
The Federation for the Homeless, highly praised in running our County’s only soup kitchen and other programs for the needy, was faced with closure due to the elimination of a $120,000 grant from the Department of Health.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther doing everything she could to save the program knew she could not quickly get the state to restore the grant, so she immediately went to work attempting to find financial assistance from the private sector.
Gunther indeed came to the rescue. Through her hard work and reaching out to the private sector, she was able to secure a $75,000 donation from “anonymous” to keep the program in operation for at least another year.
Discussing the Department of Health grant process with me, Gunther said, “Part of the problem is that they didn’t take into account the program requesting funds may be the only program available within a county. While we have not seen the list of all groups that did receive funding. Probably a few are located within the same county or geographic area. I will work with the DOH and Governor’s office to address this inequality in the grant scoring.”
The “anonymous” donation enables the Federation to remain open until a long range solution is found.
Gunther said there were more submissions this year for the same $28 million in Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) funds. This was not due to any budget cuts made this year but more groups requesting from the same pot of funds and unfortunately some 9 programs were defunded due to issues with the competitive grant submission.
“The Federation is the last safety net we have for many Sullivan Residents. When these individuals are unable to access other help or have no other place to turn for food – the Federation is there. As you can imagine, the need for these services has only increased over the past several years with the poor economy. Without the Federation these people will go hungry,” Gunther noted.
Gunther said when she began reaching out to the private sector for help she was “humbled by the eagerness and responsiveness of those I called. I am so happy we were able to rescue the Federation from closure. The private individuals never ask for or want publicity. They do this out of the kindness of their hearts. Sullivan County has many good citizens who are selflessly willing to step up and help whenever possible.”
We may never know who “anonymous” is, but if by chance you are reading this column, thank you for all your generosity and caring to help those in need.