Monday, February 11, 2019




Homeless shelter benefits from painting festival

Norma Pereira, center, guides guests as they craft their own designs (photo: Stephan Simba)

CARMEL – The Brewster Emergency Shelter Partnership provides a warm place for those in need to sleep and eat a meal during the coldest winter months.

The partnership — Putnam’s only shelter program — is supported by volunteers from congregations of all faiths.

Judy Callahan, chairwoman of the partnership’s Board of Directors, said the non-for-profit’s focus is to “provide a healthy evening meal, a safe place to sleep, breakfast and a bag lunch for the following day during the winter months.”

Food is prepared by families from the various churches and synagogues and youth groups.

The shelter received an infusion of funds Saturday evening thanks to Ixmucane Art, which hosted a fund raiser at the Art of Healing studio in Carmel.

Norma Pereira led guests who participated in a therapeutic setting where acrylics, brushes and sea sponges along with jewels and stencils were used to create intricate wooden jewelry boxes and one-of-a- kind birdhouses.

The shelter is using four sleeping sites this winter on a rotating basis — the First United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, St. Andrews Episcopal Church and St. Lawrence O’Toole Roman Catholic Church.  Supporting the sleep sites are Temple Beth Elohim, Trinity Lutheran Church, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church and the Mission Church in Holmes.                                                                                                                                                                      

The program will continue nightly through the end of April seven nights a week.

During the 2017-18 season the Brewster Emergency Shelter Partnership provided 512 guest nights. Some stayed for a single evening while others for the entire winter.

In addition to providing a safe haven for sleeping, the shelter assists the guests to find support services for their health and social needs.

While the majority of those taking advantage of the shelter are men, one or two women normally attend as well.

“Anyone in need of shelter is welcome at BESP,” said Callahan. “Our mission is to serve the homeless who are in need of temporary shelter while offering them guidance to connect with a variety of local human service providers.”

Tax deductible checks may be sent to the Brewster Emergency Shelter Partnership, 12 Main Street, PMB 269, Brewster, N.Y. 10509.

Volunteer opportunities are also available. Inquiries may be sent by e-mail to 


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