After years of helping others, Kathy Cartagena and the folks at Family of New Paltz will be getting a little assistance — in the form of a renovated office. Members of the New Paltz Community Foundation stepped in recently, asking Family what they needed most. When Cartagena told them they needed serious renovations at 51 North Chestnut Street, she didn’t think that “yes, absolutely” would be the answer she received.
“Oh my goodness. It’s unbelievable,” the Family of New Paltz director said. “I was totally blown away.”
Family of New Paltz is known locally for offering a wide variety of services, including their offering of clothes and food to the needy, and substance abuse counseling. But the building that Family’s hardworking volunteers and staff toil in leaves something to be desired.
“It’s falling apart,” she said. “The upstairs is peeling and falling. It’s just — it’s a mess. We have no storage space, because this was meant to be a private house. For our needs, it’s really not working. What the goal is for the renovation is to provide a lot of shelving, a lot of space to expand our pantry.”
Eileen Gulbrandsen Glenn, president of the New Paltz Community Foundation, noted that their group has searched for a big project to take on for a long time.
“Somebody said, ‘Family is always in need,”’ Gulbrandsen Glenn said.
New Paltz Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has helped out with things like Flood Aid and the New Paltz Arts in the Schools Association’s campaign to save local music and art clubs. They also provide a scholarship to high schoolers, among other things.
“We’ve been out there for a long time, but people haven’t really been aware of what we are,” she said.
Renovations at Family of New Paltz were set to cost $50,000, but that money had been raised already in the middle of last week. A good chuck of that money — $1,400 — came from a June 28 fundraising event at the New Paltz Elks Lodge.
But that doesn’t mean people can’t still give. Donations are still welcome. The work that starts July 22 is just “phase one” of renovations to the building.
George Sifre, of Seakill Custom Home Builders, is the project manager for the Family of New Paltz renovations. He’s also on the Community Foundation’s board.
Sifre said there’s a lot they’re going to tackle right away. “What we’re going to do there is pretty much remove all the wallpaper in the place, re-plaster all the walls and ceiling. We’re going to build some new closets. We’re going to expand the food pantry. We’re going to reorganize the clothing room with all-new shelving, new flooring, new lighting,” he said.
Phases two and three include some work to the outside of the building, as well as landscaping.
Because of Sifre’s contacts in the construction field, he was able to get contractors to work for reduced rates, donate materials or give to Family of New Paltz in their own way.
Family of New Paltz is likely to be closed for a few days during those renovations, and Cartagena noted that people should look at Family’s Facebook page for any closure announcement.
People who’d still like to donate to the renovation project can do so by logging onto www.newpaltzfoundation.org and clicking on the PayPal donation button, or by sending a check through the mail to New Paltz Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1112, New Paltz, NY 12561.
To get of sense of what Family of New Paltz, Family of Woodstock and Family of Ellenville are doing to help people in Ulster County, head to www.familyofwoodstockinc.org.