Supporters — including Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino — gathered Thursday in Hempstead to celebrate a Hempstead nonprofit’s latest initiative: the Interfaith Nutrition Network’s Center for Transformative Change.
The new center, which is scheduled to open at the end of the month, will help the nonprofit’s clients get identification cards, telephone and Internet access, housing, public assistance, medical and dental services, employment, education and assistance with money management.
“We’re thrilled with the opportunity to open another door for the guests of the INN, hoping this will further help them find the way out of needing our help,” said Jean Kelly, the agency’s executive director.
The center will be staffed by about 20 volunteers, with the manager, Nancy Burke of Rockville Centre, hired from their ranks.
The building — a large stone structure on Madison Avenue — sits next to the largest of the agency’s 14 soup kitchens.
It was donated in 2013 by the Richard L. Cohen Family Foundation. The INN spent more than $240,000 renovating and upgrading the building, with the help of grants and donations from several benefactors.
The first floor features a spacious shop full of new clothes donated by a manufacturer.
“Our guests will be able to shop almost as if they’re in a regular shop — for free,” said Gloria Quay, 68, of Syosset, a four-year volunteer with the INN who will be serving in the center.
Entry to the INN’s new building is by appointment only — but Burke said it will still be easy for the INN’s clients to access the site.
“A person will come in next door to eat and talk to one of the assistants there,” Burke said. “The assistant, if he or she thinks we can help, will give us a call. If we agree about the help, we’ll get the name and ask that the person be sent over. Or we might get a call from one of our shelters.
“We want to help,” she said. “We’re all in on this. We try to really listen to people.”