Throughout the month of April, volunteers are recognized nationwide for their important and selfless contributions to society. Options for Community Living, Inc. (Options), a provider of housing and supportive services for vulnerable Long Island residents, is celebrating volunteers and their impact on the region.
“Volunteers play a critical role in our programs,” said Jessica Schwab, Development Specialist. “While COVID limited our in-person projects last year, we had great participation for donation drives,” Schwab continued. “Donations of school supplies, hygiene products, and costly cleaning supplies are incredibly helpful to our clients.” This year the agency hopes to resume some in-person volunteering like spring or fall clean-ups to help defray costs of maintaining more than 150 supportive housing sites for adults and families with disabilities and compromised health.
Options also relies on volunteers to operate the agency’s thrift shop in Ronkonkoma. The thrift shop opened in 1991 as a pre-vocational training activity for adults in recovery from mental illness. Volunteers from Options’ residential programs learn basic retail and customer service skills under the guidance of an Options staff member and a dedicated team of community volunteers. The community volunteers come from different backgrounds, but what they share is a common desire to do good and help others.
“We are fortunate to have a group of volunteers that are not only committed to the success of the shop but also to the success of every program participant that works here,” said Yolanda-Robano-Gross, Options Chief Executive Officer. “Options Thrift Shop brings people together,” continued Robano-Gross. “There is a real sense of community among our volunteers, customers, and program participants.”
Although closed for several months in 2020 due to the pandemic, the shop reopened to growing popularity and increased sales volume. Observing health and safety protocols, the shop is meticulously maintained by the volunteers. Items rotate out seasonally with only the best quality donations making it to the sales floor. Generous donors supply the shop with its unique inventory, creating a different shopping experience at every visit.
Awarded the 2021 Bethpage Federal Credit Union “Best of Long Island” business award in the consignment/thrift store category, the volunteers are very proud.
“This award is a testament to the hard work our volunteers do every day to make us stand out in the community,” said Linda Longo, Options Community Resources Coordinator. The shop is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Additional information, including how to donate merchandise is available online at http://optionscl.org/options-thrift-shop/.
For more information about volunteering, please contact Jessica Schwab, at 631-361-9020 ext. 1163 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.