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"A Message of Hope" written by Sue Catroppa

"A Message of Hope" written by Sue Catroppa

Below is a message of hope written by Sue Catroppa, Executive Director of CAPTAIN Community Human Services 

"Lifting People Up. Building Brighter Futures."

So many of the photos posted in our newspapers and on social media show empty streets and shuttered businesses. What I see are hundreds of kids, families, and seniors who are now facing tremendous economic, physical, and emotional hardship.

In early March, CAPTAIN Community Human Services committed to keeping our doors open and our emergency programs in operation. Our Emergency Food and Hygiene Pantry continues to operate as the sole food pantry in Southern Saratoga County right now. Our Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter, one of only three in the upstate area, is still caring for and receiving youth in need. Our Street Outreach program continues to connect with homeless youth throughout Saratoga, Fulton, and Montgomery Counties. Our Emergency Assistance program isn’t sending calls to voicemail – we’re there to meet the need as best we can. That means continuing to deliver over 700 school meals each week. It means our volunteers and staff are doing no-contact drop-offs for home-bound seniors and families without transportation.

Our programs and services are only more vital during these difficult times. For us, closing them down entirely would mean leaving hundreds of families without access to emergency food, seniors without groceries and necessary prescriptions, and homeless youth without any shelter.

We’re a human services organization – and that doesn’t change because there’s a crisis.

In fact, our food pantry has seen a 76% increase in the number of households reaching out, and we’re the only human services organization continuing to offer direct services for homeless youth in most of the communities that we serve.

We’ve been innovative. We’re using a team model, alternating who’s in the office each week and limiting exposure by operating the food pantry on a drive-through basis. Our staff are engaging with clients through video chats, social media pages and groups, and following strict guidelines when they do have to be out in the community.

It can be easy to look at this increased need for services and feel overwhelmed and downtrodden. As a nonprofit, economic downturn often means reduced government and community funding coupled with a greater demand for programs. But, what keeps us going is the incredible generosity and support from our community.

I’m in awe of what I see everyday: dozens of people making monetary donations and dropping off food stuffs; our staff and volunteers going the extra mile to meet the unique needs of each and every individual and family; our local businesses reaching out, stepping up, and helping to bring in funds to our organization even when they’re struggling.

The need continues to grow each day that we’re shut down, and it’s only because of those local heroes that we can meet it head-on.

Our mission at CAPTAIN Community Human Services ends with the statement, “We strengthen communities,” and that’s exactly what we’re doing right now. Coming together to make sure that we can be there for our most vulnerable today, and long into the future.

Sue Catroppa, Executive Director CAPTAIN Community Human Services

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