This is a story of compassion, the greatest form of love humans have to offer.

Our Executive Director for Residential Services, Rachel Bleecker, LMSW, was scheduled to meet with the Department of Homeless Services at our future sanctuary facility for asylum seekers, in Brooklyn.

Her son came down with the flu and so Bergen Street Residence Program Director Donika Prelvukaj, LMSW went in her place, without hesitation.

“It was heartbreaking to see families, especially young children, wearing shorts, without a winter coat,” Donika told Rachel.  So, what did Donika do?  She called around and collected clothing and returned to the Sanctuary to drop off warm clothes and coats for the families living there. The next day, she stopped off at St. Rita’s Church in Long Island City and at another organization to pick up more clothing.

The generous donation from Helen Foster, Director of Faith Formation at St. Rita’s Church, included warm clothing for men, women, and children. Carolina, a Venezuelan volunteer worker at the church helped Donika place the 12 bags of clothing in the vehicle.

 “They’re honestly a blessing and so many families will have warm clothes this winter thanks to St. Rita’s!” said Donika. 

As for Donika, Rachel Bleecker says, “She embodies what LSSNY is all about — doing what needs to be done without anyone ever having to ask.  Compassion is a huge part of our core values as an organization.  I am proud to work alongside her.”