Breathing room

Two important programs get a funding boost

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 9/30/20

REGION — Martin Colavito, on the porch of the tiny Weigh Station in Callicoon, NY, has five minutes to spare. That’s not a lot of time to explain the problem.

He tries …

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Breathing room

Two important programs get a funding boost

Posted

REGION — Martin Colavito, on the porch of the tiny Weigh Station in Callicoon, NY, has five minutes to spare. That’s not a lot of time to explain the problem.

He tries anyway. 

“The need has always been there.” 

That’s the short version, and it’s what Colavito and Thomas Bosket, plus many others, are hoping to fix. Colavito and Bosket are the program managers for Sullivan Allies Leading Together (SALT). Between them, they’ve seen the need, and it’s only gotten worse in this summer of the pandemic.

When you don’t have enough to eat, or when your home isn’t safe, when the stress is so unrelenting it abrades your soul, it’s easy to shut down. “People become desensitized,” Colavito said. “They become hopeless.”

He held a check for $10,700, from a fundraiser put together by the health-focused group Sullivan 180. (See box for details)

“A person in need can be anyone—yourself, the couple living next door, or a family down the road,” said Samantha Mango, from Sullivan 180, in an email. If you want to help, she recommends a first step: reach out to your neighbors. Talk to them. And if they need help, tell Colavito and Bosket at SALT.

Another community initiative also received funding this week.

On Tuesday, September 22, Sen. Jen Metzger secured $200,000 in capital grants for the needs of  Monticello’s Community Hub and its decades-old building. 

Colavito, who is also the director at the Hub, nods. “People who need this were considered the least. And those who had the least gave the most.”

Consider this: Sullivan County, like the rest of the U.S., spent the summer in pandemic-induced double-digit unemployment. Some businesses are still closed and trying to figure out how to reopen. Food pantries are reporting record need. 

And still, people gave. 

It matters, Colavito said. “Because people felt lost.”

Hope grows when it has breathing room, and support, and time. The funding the Hub and SALT secured this week will help. “This is not charity,” Colavito said. “If anything, we’re investing in the community.” 

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