By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO November 5, 2002 After months of searching, it appears that the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless has finally found a permanent home.
Late last week, it was announced that Harry and Jennifer Rhulen gave the Federation the Monticello Arts and Cultural (MAC ) Center (formerly known as the Foothills and the Jewish Community Center) for their headquarters and the soup kitchen.
However, a great deal of work is needed to get the building in shape.
Theres a problem with the furnace that will cost $6,000 to fix, commented Village of Monticello Trustee Victor Marinello Jr.
That kitchen is not certified cookable, former village trustee Jim Barnicle added. It needs to meet the USDA code.
Because of such needs, the village abandoned the structure earlier this year and moved all of its programs to the Neighborhood Facility. For over six months now, the building has been vacant.
The Federation, whose soup kitchen is being kicked out of its current home by the Monticello Seventh-Day Adventist Church, is appealing to the public for help to get the building ready in time for Thanksgiving. They are looking for donations and for people who will do some work on the building, like minor electrical wiring, a new furnace, light carpentry, weatherproofing, minor plumbing, cleaning up, yard work, and repairing the fence.
Since the announcement that the Federation got the building on Thursday, the community has been quick to rally by their side.
The village will do all we can to work with them, pledged Village Mayor Gary Sommers. I am glad they got the building.
The entire community needs to rally behind them, stated Town of Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini. I will bring this before the town board and see what we can do for them.
I will bring it up to the other legislators, Sullivan County Legislature Chair Leni Binder remarked. We will help them look for grants. It is an excellent location.
It is good to see that building put to use. I hope they will find it suitable, commented New York State Assemblyman Jake Gunther. I will discuss their needs with Federation Director Betsy Wiltse. I will meet with her soon.
Were thrilled. This just may work out to be an excellent deal, Wiltse said. We are depending on the kindness of others. We will look into grants and contact New York State Assemblyman Jake Gunther, New York State Senator John Bonacic, United States Congressman Maurice Hinchey, and the Gerry Foundation for help.
The Federation hopes to have everything ready at the MAC Center for their annual Thanksgiving Dinner. This year, the first Doug Mildner Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner will occur on November 24. Mildner, who prepared and ran the dinner each year, died earlier this year. Thus, the dinner was named in his honor.
If anyone wants to make a donation or do some work at the MAC Center, please contact Wiltse at 794-2604.