Teresa (Teri) Swenson was recognized by Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello for her community service and thanked for her work by the Woman’s Club of Glen Cove at a recent luncheon at the Swan Club.
After chairing the annual fundraising fashion show for eight years, Swenson has raised thousands of dollars that the club has donated to Glen Cove charities. This year the funds—$2,500 for four nonprofits—went to: the Boys & Girls Club of Glen Cove, Meals on Wheels, the North Shore Shelter and the SAGE Foundation (Senior Activity Generational Endowment), which supports programs at the Glen Cove Senior Center.
In accepting her club’s thanks, Swenson, a retired outdoor education developer and teacher who has volunteered with the club for 15 years, said, “All I am I owe to my mother. She said life is too short not to be kind to each other. She said that helping people and liking them and being loyal is what counts. Hopefully I’ve done some of that. This is really wonderful.”
Receiving the funds were Franca Trunzo of the Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club, who grew up in Glen Cove and attended a Boys & Girls Club herself. “It is my life. I love the kids and this community. It’s amazing,” she said.
Missy Wiercinski accepted for the local chapter of Meals On Wheels II, serving lunches made at Glen Cove Hospital. “You do wonderful things for people who are homebound,” said Swenson.
Wiercinski thanked her, saying, “It’s such a wonderful program and things are changing here and we need your help. We serve a hot meal four times a week to those homebound. Those of us living in our comfortable homes often don’t think of people who are struggling.”
Katie Hawkins Schneider accepted the donation for the North Shore Sheltering Program. They need funding, too. From October to March about 25 men have a place to be from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. During the daylight hours they are in the community, at the library; at the Hempstead Soup Kitchen; and with donated gift cards go to McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, places in which they can be part of the public. People in the community cook meals and donate the food to the shelter.
“These men have a good place to live,” Schneider said.
Founded 14-years ago by Pastor Alan Ramirez after a couple of men froze to death, the shelter took form. At first, the location was shared by several churches, but the First Presbyterian Church became its home. At first the population served was Latino, but today there is a mix of clients.
“Two of the men each have cars, but haven’t enough money to rent an apartment. Several have pooled funds to get a hotel room at times,” said Schneider.
There are no drugs or alcohol allowed; showering every three days is a must; and the men have a cubby at night for their personal items. All toiletries are donated.
Schneider said simply of the concept, “It works. They don’t look homeless per se, because they have a home base.”
When it snows, many work in the community by shoveling snow, something arranged by Cantor Gustavo of Congregation Tifereth Israel.
Lee Del Valle of the SAGE Foundation accepted their donation. With her was executive director Carol Waldman of the Glen Cove Senior Center/Glen Cove SAGE Foundation, who said, “Every dollar goes to the Senior Center. They support all its programs, including fitness. The center wouldn’t be as good as it is without their help. It is so wonderful to live in a community where people really care about each other.”
She added, “We serve 1,800 seniors in Glen Cove.”
The club also recognized several women for the longevity of their membership in the club, including Susan Caravello, a 35-year member and Ellen Koeppel, a 20-year member. Sandra Capri was presented with an Honorary Membership for all her service to the club.