Fall is just around the corner.
Fortunately for some, so is the opening of the Butterfly Café, a soup kitchen being put together by a Schoharie County coalition that hopes to start up a homeless shelter as well.
Carol McGuire, one of those involved in the effort, which also in includes representatives from the Salvation Army, Department of Social Services, SCCAP and Cobleskill Regional Hospital, said they plan to have the soup kitchen up and running in the Head Start building, Lark Street, Cobleskill, on October 31.
At first, Ms. McGuire said, it will run one night a week; as attendance and the number of volunteers grow, that will be slowly be added to.
“We would have it every night if we had enough people to serve,” she said.
Ms. McGuire first spoke about the need for a homeless shelter and soup kitchen to the Village of Cobleskill in June.
While they’ve made progress on the kitchen, the Butterfly Café, they’re still struggling to find a place for the shelter, the Butterfly Inn.
“There’s not as much out there as you think once you start looking,” Ms. McGuire said.
“We’ve been looking at good-sized, older homes, but we’re beginning to realize that with all of the work they’d need, we might be better off starting with a piece of land instead.”
Ms. McGuire said they still hope to place the shelter somewhere in the village where it would be central to services.
The group has already hired a consultant to take them through the formal process of setting up a shelter; once they get tax-exempt status they’ll be able to apply for more grants and begin major fundraising efforts.
One of the fundraisers already in the works is a November 7 concert by Kim and Reggie Harris and Magpie, likely at the Middleburgh Methodist Church, but the details are still being worked out,
Until then, donations can be sent care of Ms. McGuire at Spirit of Hope, PO Box 208, Cobleskill, NY 12043.
“We’re moving ahead,” Ms. McGuire said. “Some of the donations we’ve already received were made specifically so we could hire a consultant to move this forward. We’re still hard at work.”
According to figures collected by Spirit of Hope volunteers, DSS figures show 93 families and 238 people requested housing assistance last year with women outnumbering men 2:1.
Other agencies served 112 people in ’08.
The average homeless person locally spends 13 weeks in a hotel or motel; the Salvation Army and Red Cross are only able to pick up three of those nights.
Some “homeless” are living with relatives, many people are just a couple of paychecks away from losing their home, and others have been thrown into homelessness when they lost jobs and were no longer able to pay a mortgage, according to the Spirit of Hope volunteers.
Initial plans call for a 19-bed facility, primarily for women and intact families with a maximum stay of 90 days.
The group welcomes volunteers and donations.
For more information, contact Ms. McGuire at 234-7781.