If you have never witnessed it, it’s difficult to understand equity.
If you never witnessed it, it’s difficult to understand inequity.
And in isolation, would you be able to know the difference?
For the first time in seven months, SHARE went on a Midnight Run. In the folds of my vague memory, I remembered the Run as an ever-evolving, closely woven part of my own tapestry. When we finally decided to start up our outreach once again, I wasn’t very certain it still was. The shock and awe of the pandemic put a screeching halt to the monthly trips into Manhattan that I did with two dozen students and some hearty adults, to bring friendship and food to the homeless street people we had built solid relationships with over the past 33 years. Isolated by the scourge of COVID, we spent the last seven months in earnest effort to provide face masks for as many people as we could. We sewed them. Made calls and found product donors. Built a pipeline of sorts. 30,000 masks later, it was indeed, time to put one foot in front of the other, and to move on, beyond that initiative. It was in place – and so were we. I told the eight students and four adults who went with me that last night ‘s Run was a test balloon of sorts. And this afternoon, as the cobwebs of fatigue began to wear off, I wondered why I was so unsure of what had been second nature for me for decades.
Reassurance surrounded me. The kids had expertly prepared for the night by pre-packaging individual bags by size that contained socks and underwear, toiletries, face masks, a tee shirt and a sweater or hoodie. These kids. What is that Lao Tzu proverb of truth that I seem to always refer to at moments like this? ”When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” and over the past few months, these astounding kids have become my teachers. All that was lost to me, has been found. Gratitude toward these kids isn’t even close to how I feel.
At our third stop, when I finally grew comfortable with the new way of Run behavior - no hugging, no physical contact, very little story-sharing - we saw my friend Salaam rushing down the street to meet us before we loaded up the van and cars to proceed to our next stop. He was in his element, surrounded by these kids, these caring, loving kids, and they showered him – at a distance – with genuine affection and plenty of thick sandwiches to get him through the next few days.
During the worst months of the pandemic, when my deepest fears overtook me, I’d worry about these friends on the street. Salaam was one of the people who would stay in touch and call me once or twice or even three times a week to simply talk about almost nothing. I didn’t care what we talked about. He was a lifeline to the world I discovered three decades ago and was fearful of losing. The pandemic was always a topic. Sometimes we’d talk about mutual friends. I’d ask if he had seen so-and-so and he’d report in. I became obsessed with telling him to wash his hands as often as he could. I wanted to make sure he had face masks. I suggested he not gather in large groups, even if it meant not visiting his mosque. Salaam is 60 years old but became my focus. Before we left him, he reached into one of his many bags and pulled out an envelope and handed it to me. In a carefully written script, it read ‘Happy Birthday, Genie.’ And on the inside, was a beautiful card that he said he got me last March, but we stopped doing the Run with our February date. He carried the card with him since, as a just-in-case.
When I got into the van with Rob to go to our last stop, I opened the card to read it and he signed it, “Sincerely, Salaam, your best friend.”
I’m fine now. The Run was more lovely than I had dreamed possible. The people we saw were as good and as kind as ever, those wonderful students dotted every “I” and crossed every “T” in how they prepared for this first Run in seven months and I have a new best friend.
We’ll return on November 14th, prepared to it all over again.
“… Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” ~ John LewisRead Now
“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” ~John Lewis
SHARE the Project has been making “good trouble” for over 32 years..Our face mask initiative and food distribution was one of the most recent ways SHARE responded to the changing needs created when COVID-19 became a reality in our lives.
We need you to help us help others. As with so many other worthy not-for-profits, we ask that you consider SHARE and our 32 year history of making “good trouble.” Please donate below.
With love and thanks,
All of us at SHARE the Project, Inc.
It’s been quite a year for all of us, and we managed to continue our mission to stay active in the communities we serve, expand ourselves to new problems and their solutions, to grow our Student Board to the largest it has ever been, and to work cohesively to make this year of 2019 the best that SHARE has known. If you practice enough, sometimes you really do get it right.
Our 30th Anniversary Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless – that amazing Grace we call our “Signature Event” – was wonderful. We included new elements, like a magician for our youngest guests and an astounding Mariachi band for ALL of our guests and volunteers. We were honored by New York State’s Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins whose annual presence at our dinner has always been such a joy. Westchester County honored SHARE as well as our Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, and all with the support and energy from the people whose kindness has kept us afloat for 32 years.
Sadly, we lost a wonderful friend who shared himself, his life in homelessness as well as his victory in being homed, with SHARE for the past three decades. Sleep with the angels, my dear friend Adam, and know that what you gave me and all of us in SHARE was the honor and privilege of your friendship.
The end of each year allows us the time and the season to reflect on where we were and to dream of where we are going. We have much to do in the new year! Our gratitude for your help is genuine and your continued interest in what our students achieve is embraced.
Wishing each and every one of you the very best of what was, with good wishes for a New Year of peace and love everlasting.
Make no mistake: the need for assistance for those who are food insecure isn’t seasonal. It’s 24/7. It’s 365 days a year. And this past Saturday night, SHARE was in New York City on the street, very happy to help – despite a massive power outage that affected the Upper West Side of Manhattan where our stops were located. Despite the deep black abyss that was Manhattan south of 68th Street and Columbus Avenue on Saturday night, people were out and about, enjoying the warm summer night and simply “being,” a far cry from the memories I had of the blackout on July 13th 1977, 42 years earlier, to the day.
Everyone we saw was happy. Spirited. Glad we made it to the city safely. These are my people. My friends. My extended family. They were witness to Rob’s and my wedding last November when we exchanged vows at our annual holiday dinner we host. They are my support, as I am theirs, and we have over three decades, shared love and loss, joy and sorrow together. And so our monthly Saturday night sojourns are far more intimate than what one may think.
We had ample bagged lunches. Rob’s infamous chili and cornbread. Cupcakes to celebrate our youngest volunteer’s 14th birthday. Fresh socks and underwear, tees and tanks and sneakers. Bagged lunches and more than anything else, we had genuine fellowship, a word I am always very careful about using. Summer Runs are a bit different. We’re often met with surprise, as no one really expects us to come into the city; we’re a group that is high school student-centered and we had been following the school calendar for as long as I can remember, with a summer Run or two added to the mix.
We’ll be back, and when we see our street friends again, the summer will have ebbed, school will have started and the chatter will be about our annual Thanksgiving Dinner. These Saturday nights on the street have never grown old or thin for me and honestly, I’m looking forward to the next Run, despite the 32 years that have rapidly passed since the very first Run I ever did…
Join SHARE On March 24th as we join the students of Stoneman Douglas High School March on Washington.
SHARE has contracted 5 coach buses. We want to bring 200 students and 50 adults.
(Due to lack of internet, electricity and all things storm-related, permission slips will soon be available here on this page to be printed and filled out. Please bear with us).
It’s December 26th, or in the United Kingdom, it is Boxing Day or a day known in more modern history as Return-The-Gift-I-Received-for-Something-I-Really-Want Day. It is also known as St. Stephen’s Day, named for the very first martyr of Christianity, a deacon who was stoned to death for espousing what was considered blasphemy against his Jewish brethren. And, as the old carol refers, we know that St. Stephen’s Day was when Good King Wenceslas went “round about” in the frigid night of 10th century Bohemia to bring alms to the poor.
Throughout the ages of translations and interpretations, Boxing Day was the day when those who were in service to the wealthy, received a “Christmas box” or present as a gift from their generous employers. Samuel Pepys even made a reference to the tradition of this gift-giving in his diary. But, as is sometimes the sad truth, Boxing Day, which simply coincides with Stephen’s Day in our Western calendar, became return-the-gift day and, for some, the concept of generosity trumping selfishness went flying out the window of time.
I’m with Good King Wenceslas. Let’s take this day, the one that followed the holidays of Christmas and Hanukah this year when so many of us had the simple privilege of being with family and friends to exchange gifts of love and delight, and remember those whose lives have been fraught with the pain of poverty and loneliness, fear and abandonment. Let’s try to channel our inner Wenceslas and forget the small inconveniences or petty disappointments that our lives sometimes have, and let’s make someone who has nothing a shy bit happier if we can. Let’s just simply try to do unto others.
In a perfect world, this holiday week abounding with love and compassion, would last year round. It’s not that hard to do. May this season of giving never become the season of just receiving. Here’s to a new year coming filled with compassion and caring, peace and hope for all.
SHARE the Project, Inc.
“Take the time…SHARE the experience”
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York 10706
Autumn greetings from all of us at SHARE!
After a very hectic summer, we are braced for an even busier Fall as we head toward our 29th year here in Hastings. We are fully engaged in our Midnight Run schedule, building and renewing our relationships with those men and women whose lives have been intertwined with ours for nearly three decades. Our students are a pleasant fixture at the weekly Farmers’ Market here in Hastings and the Student Board has been developing our yearlong projects list. And thanks to The Huffington Post, we had a lovely mention as part of a larger coalition we are forming.
As I said last year, I think it’s fair to say that SHARE the Project, Inc. has become a tradition now: a diverse group of very committed school and college age kids and adults whose sole purpose is to help those who are the neediest in our near communities.
Last November, we had the honor of serving over 700 men, women and children from Westchester and all five boroughs of New York City, a Thanksgiving meal that was made with care and abounding love. As Autumn approaches and the nights cool down, we gladly watch the leaves change colors, as we roll up our sleeves to prepare for what will be our 27th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless, hosted at Hastings High School, here in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, a celebratory gathering of the homed and the homeless. Toasting another year together, we will stand, many hundreds strong, and share a few moments of spirit and of grace as the tireless student and community volunteers serve our guests.
You can be part of this. Donate today and know how much your contribution will help. Please see this link:
If you prefer, checks can be made out to SHARE the Project, Inc. and mailed to:
SHARE the Project, Inc.
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York 10706
For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org share your thoughts directly with me at email@example.com. We can be reached by phone at
(914) 478-1795 if you want to donate your time as a volunteer for this event or any of our other projects throughout the course of the year.
With my deepest thanks and very best wishes for a warm and happy holiday season, from all of us here to all of you there,
Founder and Executive Director
SHARE the Project, Inc.
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
SHARE the Project, Inc. dba Project SHARE – We are a public charity. Our 501©3 number is 01-0944154.
SHARE the Project, Inc. has offered all of our high school age students in Hastings and surrounding Westchester communities an opportunity to extend themselves to people whom under no other circumstance would they have an opportunity to meet. It is a program of wide range involvement and all we require is the support of the greater community to help keep our valuable programs available. Please help us continue what has become a tradition for the youth in our area. In the words of Dr. Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
The presence of her absence is profound.
It’s been nearly a month since my mother died and the depth of pain I feel doesn’t have words that can adequately describe it.
Today, opening the door of her apartment, still filled with her scent, her things, herself in wispy spirit, I remembered reading Sartre’s “L’Etranger” in French class, decades ago, and seeing the opening words: “Aujourdhui, maman est morte.” The words terrified me as I never wanted to see them again, think about them again or say them to myself. I was as old then as my mother was when she lost her own mom: sixteen and barely cooked as a person. But, of course, so many years later, those words whizzed through my tired brain and it seems that they are what I am seeing today in a neon blaze behind my forehead.
Memories are funny things as they can serve as ‘cheat-sheets’ for times long ago that creep slowly into our consciousness, often sparked by something so out of context. It’s been nearly a month since I watched my mother tap her feet in small dance steps, sitting in a chair in the hospital, bolstered by pillows, her head back, a smile on her face, eyes closed with a knowing look that was so very private to her own memories that the Sinatra tune my daughter was playing for her so inspired. A few short hours later, she was gone and I will never see her do that again.
My mother grew up in post-Depression upstate New York, the oldest daughter of six children borne by my grandmother who emigrated from Southern Italy a decade or two earlier. “Mama” was her center, her core, the foundation for all things right and just, a kind woman – judging by the few photographs I have of her – who loved her children dearly. My mother rarely spoke of her father who was an angry, abusive alcoholic who would come and go and go and come without announcement. My mother and her sisters and brothers were raised by Mama and her mother, my Grandma Pape. My grandmother owned a candy store and was a good businesswoman, according to my mom. Life in West Haverstraw was quiet and had a sameness that rural living seems to bring with it. The family pulled up stakes, and headed to Staten Island when my mother was still a child and I suspect the move was initiated by the settling of most of the other members of the Izzo family in New Dorp.
When I began working with the homeless in New York City, I had a vague sensation that I was somehow connected to them, to the experience though I had no idea how or why. I largely ignored this vague feeling until one day, sitting on the fieldstone patio behind our bosom-y old house, my mother blurted out to me that once upon a very long time ago she and her sisters and brothers spent several months in a Volunteers of America orphanage. My grandmother had been taken quite ill and there wasn’t a relative who could take in all six children at once while their mother was hospitalized.
It was a languid summer’s day and I was watching my two year old daughter play with our Golden retriever, admonishing the poor dog for doing something she found offensive. With her chubby little fist and wagging finger in the pup’s face, I recall her saying in toddler-speak, “No Wo-Wo! NO!” I barely heard my mother’s words and my lack of reaction spurned her to say it once again, “Did you know that we were homeless once?” I was wordless and simply turned to her as she spoke. It was one of my mother’s secrets that she courageously held beneath her heart, allowing it to come out at the right time, in the right place…a secret that was one of many she revealed to me over time.
More than twenty five years have passed since that afternoon. Our work with the homeless continues and there isn’t a time I’m not quietly reminded of my own mother’s time spent without a home of her own to return to.
It’s been nearly a month since my mother has died and I suspect that in time, the craziness of my grief will ebb, replaced with the acquired knowledge of simply learning how to live without her presence, as I gently and simply learn to live with her absence
I have not yet climbed aboard the shoppers’ train and joined the throngs that fill the malls, trying to find the perfect gift to give during this season of light and magic and love. And, Christmas – the holiday we celebrate in our home – is but a few days away. My children are accustomed to the gifts of new pajamas and the requisite holiday-inspired underwear that I always seemed to give them, along with the baskets of homemade cookies and hot chocolate we make. But, the Christmases of the past are no longer and I’ve decided to walk the walk that I have talked about for so many years: find a charity of your very own choice to give to. Whether you choose to give here or to another charity, please do so. After all, those boxers with Rudolph’s blinking red nose on them grow pretty old pretty quickly, but the gift of supporting charitable works lives on in the growth and deeds of those who donate.
And, for those who really DO like the traditions of gift-giving, we’re all for that, too! Click here to see all the wonderful stores where you can shop online that help support SHARE!
How ever you celebrate, from our home to yours during this magical season of light and magic and love, we wish you nothing but Joy, Peace, and the Happiest of New Years.
During this very task-congested time, these two weeks prior to the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless, it’s difficult not to think about the many homeless and hungry poor whose lives intersected with mine over the past 28 years. Many of those who survived the crack pandemic of the 90’s were lucky to get themselves off the streets, out of the tunnels, away from the intense uncertainties of survival when the only thing that mattered was having enough money to get that next fix. Many of them, of course, simply died forgotten deaths, particles of dust in the wind, memories erased by the speed of light and life in a very complicated city.
Anthony Taille, a journalist from Montreal, writes eloquently, soulfully and accurately about topics that have long lost their newsworthiness by our 24 hour cable news network standard. His article on the Mole People, in my opinion, harnesses precisely the essence of urban homelessness. He writes with courage and daring, painting a vivid image out of the grayness of homeless living.
Please, read the piece, slowly and deliberately and simply try to imagine. It won’t be easy, I assure you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.