On behalf of the 12 men and women who are members of St. Bernard's Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, may I express our concern for the well-being of the homeless men who seem to be increasing in number in the Levittown area. Some of them may be veterans.
We're able to provide food from our pantry daily. We've even gotten into the practice of having packages of food ready to hand out whenever someone comes to the door.
However, that's not the main problem. These men need some sort of case management and counseling, which we're not equipped to do.
The sad part is that these men -- winter or summer -- would rather sleep on church property, where they feel safe, or on the street, than go to a shelter. They tell us, "It's not safe," or " 'They' steal my stuff."
I don't know the answer. Are there not enough shelters or trained professionals to maintain the shelters? Or is our system just broken and needs to be fixed?
Patricia Rosalia, Levittown
Editor's note: The writer is the president of St. Bernard's Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Mylar balloons pollute the beaches
I'm an amateur photographer who enjoys going to our Long Island beaches to view and photograph the multitudes of wildlife.
I was just at one beach, and in the short stretch I traversed, I was distressed to find dozens of Mylar balloons along the tide line. By the time I collected them, most were deflated and faded. Still, I could see that some were for birthdays, others for graduations, and one or two said, "Get well."
One fresh balloon was bright pink with Minnie Mouse saying, "Happy Birthday." I imagined a young girl clapping her hands in joy at receiving such a fun gift. I wonder how that same girl would feel if she knew that her birthday toy was left behind to pollute the beach and poison wildlife that ingests it.
People come from all over the country, even the world, to enjoy our beaches. If we continue to pollute them, this treasure will be lost to all.
Please don't bring Mylar balloons to the beach, but if you must, at least make sure that they, along with all garbage, are disposed of properly.
Janet Rudolph, Rockville Centre
'Ranting' children may not be what they seem
A letter writer was upset with parents who didn't seem to want to control their 9- or 10-year-old's "loud and long rant" in a restaurant ["Adults reluctant to discipline," Just Sayin', June 20].
I want to offer another view of this situation. There are many children with special needs who don't necessarily have any physical characteristics that would alert you to their conditions. I'm sure there are parents who choose to let their typical children carry on in public. But please keep in mind, that is not always the case.
I choose to enjoy our family dinners at home with my children with special needs. Not every family should have to make that choice. The next time you see me in the supermarket with my 12-year-old son, and he is being loud and ranting, please have patience. He has autism and doesn't know he's disturbing you.
I'm not a narcissist who feels that my child can behave any way he wants in public. You can't imagine the panic I feel inside, hoping to just get through this shopping trip.
Marylou Gatto, Smithtown