Attendance (15): Peter Brown, Murray Forth, April Dowd, Debbie Brown, Russ Edberg, Pat Bailey, Terry Brewer, Bill Dowd, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Dick Drumm, Jim Leyhane, Rommel Tolentino, Stewart Wagner, Rob Mangold.
Guests (3): Rev. Perry Jones, Maggie Forth, Jeremy Forth.
• Thanks to Murray Forth for arranging dinner in the absence of chef Jim Mendrysa who is on vacation this week.
• Murray explained our arrangement with the Comfort Inn for our new meeting space allows us to rearrange tables and chairs to fit our needs, but that we must return them to their original configuration. The hotel will store our Rotary items — flags, banners, podium, etc. — and will have a projection screen available. Murray will check to see if we can plug into the wall-mounted TV monitor if needed.
• Doris Calamaras reported that Past District Governor Bill Nathan is recovering well from leg surgery and expressed thanks for the card she sent on behalf of the club.
• New trading flags and “Peace Through Service” pins have been ordered for our exchange students to share.
Program: The Capital City Rescue Mission
Rev. Perry Jones (above right), director of the Capital City Rescue Mission at 259 South Pearl Street in downtown Albany, was introduced by Doris Calamaras.
Perry explained the development of the facility during his 30 years there. The faith-based rescue mission was founded in 1949 essentially to help, as he put it, “winos, homeless and people like that. However, it has broadened its mission over the years.”
Funding for the facility is a mix of donations, planned giving, fundraisers and several activities such as selling unwanted clothing donations to a Canadian rag recycler. Of its total budget, 76% is spent on client programs (see chart).
Since moving from the original building near the Greyhound Bus Terminal to the current campus that includes seven buildings, services have grown to include feeding upwards of 650 meals daily — breakfast, two lunch seatings, and dinner — to anyone in need.
Other services include operating an on-premises butcher shop to process donated food animals and help cut feeding costs; lodging for up to 200 men, women and children per night; operating a free clothing store; a medical clinic serving 3,000 people a year, staffed by a nurse practicioner and volunteer doctors; a medicine room staffed by volunteers from Albany College of Pharmacy; a smoking cessation program in cooperation with Seton Health, and a computerized learning center to prepare people for the workplace.
Perry also spoke with pride about the members of his staff who once were clients, good examples of success stories for former drug addicts and alcoholics.
The Rescue Mission recently purchased a former downtown warehouse for $111,000 and is transforming it into 50 studio apartments — the first 14 of which will be occupied as of February, with all scheduled to be occupied by summer 2013, as well as expanded space for the clothing shop and other activities. When the shop moves, the medical clinic will move into its former space, effectively doubling the square footage.
Perry said he hopes to open an emergency shelter for women in the near future.
More information on the Rescue Mission is available on its website.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m., Thursday, November 15, Comfort Inn & Suites. Dr. Len Leonidas will speak on “Viral Madness.”
Go here for the Events Calendar.