On Tuesday, November 1st, Maureen’s Haven Homeless Outreach in Riverhead will begin its winter Shelter Program, providing housing to the homeless when they need it most – from November to the start of April. Those in need are screened and then transported to one of the 18 different host Houses of Worship, between Greenport and East Hampton, that offer food, clothing, and a warm place to sleep during the brutal winter months.
To offset some of the financial costs of the program, the 5th Annual Auction to benefit Maureen’s Haven will be held on Sunday, October 30th from 4 to 6 p.m. Taking place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton, admission is just a donation of a new pair of socks for either men or women.
“It’s a silent auction of themed gift baskets,” noted volunteer Sara Blue of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, one of the host Houses of Worship. “We have wine baskets, spa baskets, children’s baskets, sports baskets – we have a lot of fun themed options. And then we have local restaurants.”
Several of the participating Hamptons-based Houses of Worship team up for this annual event that supports their charitable efforts. “I’m always surprised that people don’t realize that there is a homeless problem in the Hamptons,” she noted. “There are people who don’t eat dinner – there are probably almost 1,000 people that go hungry – who need the pantries desperately in the winter months. We think of Maureen’s Haven because in the winter they are living in their cars or on the beaches or in the parks, and freezing.”
Throughout the winter months some of the Houses of Worship offer sanctuary from the unbearable nighttime temperatures, while others volunteer their time. “Each of us house a certain amount of people or we help each other to house. We house 15 to 18 people, and we have two churches from Montauk assisting us,” noted Blue. “We each have a night, we’re Saturday night, so they assist us in cooking and they use our house.” Proceeds from the benefit will be used towards necessities like food, blankets, and sheets. “Everyone in the Houses of Worship, we donate our time and money to use the houses that we use. So we have to pay for electricity and food, so we do this benefit every year to defray the cost and we divide it among the four of us in East Hampton/Sag Harbor,” she explained. “This helps us if we need to buy beds, towels, washcloths to keep the houses going. Because they [the homeless guests] sleep over, they’re on a blown up mattress, we always have to have sheets and blankets and pillow cases and towels – that comes out of our own pockets.”
Along with the themed baskets, a live auction that features exciting items that were donated by local merchants and individuals, like a night at Gurney’s, a VIP day at the Hampton Classic Horse Show, a stay at East Hampton Point, dinner at the American Hotel, and golf at Indian Island Golf Course in Riverhead, will also take place.
“This is for the local community, so we try to keep it very affordable,” she added.
So whether you’re really being proactive about holiday shopping this year, know someone with an upcoming birthday, or just want to support a terrific local cause, the auction has remarkable gifts for all. “Some of these baskets go as low as $35 and they’re very nice,” shared Blue. “We try to keep it at a very good price so people get really good buys.” Little ones may want to bring their piggy banks. “Some of these baskets are kid orientated with games and sports,” noted Blue. “We definitely want the families there.” And every attendee will certainly have a hard time resisting sweets offered in the bake sale.
Calvary Baptist Church, Christ Episcopal Church of Sag Harbor, East Hampton Presbyterian Church, East Hampton United Methodist Church, Living Water Church, Most Holy Trinity RC Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, St. Therese’s RC Church, Temple Adas Israel, The Community Church of Montauk, The Jewish Center of the Hamptons, and Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork are among the local Houses of Worship that support Maureen’s Haven. East Hampton Rotary Club, East Hampton High School Honor Society, Peconic Community Council, Ross School’s 8th Grade Class, Springs Fire Department, and VFW Post 550 have all lent a helping hand to ensure that this year’s auction is a success.
“We really need the support of the community to help us so we can have a successful year and help anyone who needs it,” added Blue.
The live auction will take place from 4:45 to 6 p.m.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is located at 18 James Lane in East Hampton. For more information about the Auction, visit stlukeseasthampton.org. For more information about Maureen’s Haven, visit www.maureenshaven.org.