Nov. 27, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez
A donation drive pulled off by a group of Sunnyside mothers resulted in carloads upon carloads of winter jackets, toys, and clothing delivered to families currently sheltered at the Best Western hotel on Hunters Point Avenue.
Members of Sunnyside Moms, a group of neighborhood mothers founded in 2004, spearheaded the effort to bring much-needed items to the families at the site on 38-05 Hunters Point Ave., which has been in use by the Department of Homeless Services since late September.
The shelter, which came as a surprise to many in the community, will eventually house families in all of the hotel’s 82 rented rooms, 64 of which were immediately in use.
Susan Bachman, a member of Sunnyside Moms, said she was annoyed at the uproar and complaints made by the community and members of the group over the DHS using the hotel to shelter homeless families, perceiving the comments as hypocritical and unhelpful.
“Everyone talks about wanting to help, but when the time comes, no one wants anything to do with it,” Bachman said.
A couple of mothers took heed to Bachman’s post, and together began to take steps to figure out what the families at the location needed most. After conversations with the DHS, the mothers began collecting winter coats for children and adults, books, toys, and clothing for babies and children—most of which are between 6 and 11 years old at the site—in early November.
After about two weeks of collection, where three mothers volunteered to host drop off sites, the donated items were ready to be sent to the families in the morning of Nov. 19.
“It was just such a massive amount of stuff,” said Bachman, who drove back and forth from the drop off points to the shelter using her own car.
With the help of one other car, a total of five trips were made in the jam-packed cars between the drop off spots and the Best Western location. “The generosity was just incredible,” Bachman said.
The group plans on holding more donation drives to help the families, and is intent on bringing bookshelves to create a small library at the site’s lobby for the residents.
The Sunnyside Moms group also hopes to hold a welcome event, like a potluck party, for the site’s families sometime in mid-December.