Convoy of Hope, a humanitarian relief organization, which for the second year is bringing free goods and services to children and families in Uniondale, also offers children an opportunity to volunteer their time and resources.
A national faith-based nonprofit group founded in 1994, Convoy of Hope is a collaborative effort among local businesses, churches and social service agencies to help families by providing free groceries, health screenings, resume writing assistance, job fairs, family portraits, haircuts and other services. About 2,000 volunteers and local officials including Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, are uniting to host the event at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale and Campbell Park in Hempstead. “This is an exciting opportunity for Long Island residents to show compassion for our neighbors,” said Tori Markou, coordinator for Long Island Convoy of Hope.
Children can help by donating new crayons, new books and new coloring books. Volunteers must be 16 or older and be accompanied by a parent, Markou said.
The Lynbrook PTA is also helping by taking up a collection of books, crayons and coloring books. The PTA made copies of fliers requesting items needed for the children of Hempstead. East Rockaway PTA and its members Andrea Mansfield, Michelle Gamache and Christine Delvalle donated more than 1,000 books, said Esmeralda Roberts, an outreach representative for Convoy.
Children who wish to donate crayons, coloring books and new books “can be a part of reaching out to their ‘sister communities’ who are in need and don’t have the resources to purchase these items,” Roberts said. “In Lynbrook and East Rockaway, our children are frequently taught in their respective schools to ‘give a helping hand.’ This is one way of putting into practice the “gift of giving.” There are two collection sites: Prosperi Bakery at 103 Atlantic Ave, Lynbrook, 516-593-7689 and Lynbrook Deli and Caterers, 439 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook, 516-256-0361.
Markou said about 8,000 guests, nearly 3,600 of them children, are expected at Mitchel Field, which will host job fairs, offer resume writing assistance, health and dental screenings, free groceries, baby food, lunch, family portraits, haircuts, live entertainment, games, prayer and other services.
At Campbell Park in Hempstead, which is by invitation only, about 2,000 adults and 800 children are expected. Groceries, live entertainment, free lunch, baby food, kid's carnival and other services will be offered there.
There will be a Kid’s Zone, filled with inflatable bounce houses, slides, bouncing castles, balloons, games, carnival, prizes and candy at both sites, Markou said.
“Most of the kids will receive free medical services, shoes, books, hair cuts, photos, but mostly we are availing the parent/care giver with resources that could potentially enable the parent to improve their standard of living. Some of the service that they will have access to are, social security benefits info, resume writing, job fair, list of pantries, battered woman resources, charter school information just to mention a few,” Roberts said.
The events will be held, rain or shine Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Mitchel Field, 1 Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Uniondale, and at Campbell Park. No identification is required. For event information or to volunteer, visit li.convoyoutreach.org or call 516-375-4228 or 516-561-61507/8.