In the depths of this winter’s brutal cold snap, a looming crisis: a homeless shelter in the Bronx is suddenly rendered uninhabitable due to broken water pipes. An emergency call from the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to Project Renewal’s new, state-of-the-art Bronx Boulevard Shelter provided the solution.
“It was in the evening. I was on my way home after my shift when my cell phone rang,” recalls Ana Charle, Director of Bronx Boulevard. The shelter wasn’t yet fully open so Ana quickly scrambled to make sure that there were enough staff, goods and services in place to make her unanticipated visitors as comfortable as possible.
“DHS told me 20 clients were coming, so I put in a call to Comfort Foods (Project Renewal’s catering company) to rush over 20 meals” says Ana. “Then they called me back and told me the number was closer to 90. I had to get right back on the line and order another 70 meals.”
Our staff pulled together that night, stepping outside their regular roles to help wherever needed - ensuring that the facility was clean and that sheets, blankets and toiletries were on hand. Although employees were called in to work unexpectedly, many volunteered to stay for 14 and 21 hour shifts to make certain that our guests’ needs were met!