Written by Denise M. Anchico
The Hauppauge chapter of The Smithtown Children’s Foundation* is busy helping children and families of our community in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director of this chapter, Jennifer O’Brien, recently spent some time on the phone with The Buzz and provided insight into this foundation, its mission, and how they are helping.
The overall mission of the Smithtown Children’s Foundation is to provide “financial and emotional support to families” and the Hauppauge chapter focuses on those residing in the Hauppauge School District. Although this foundation is not affiliated with any school district, the Hauppauge chapter has been working closely with the district’s social workers to identify families who qualify for free and reduced lunches while school is in session. According to Jennifer, those families have received hundreds of meals while New York State remains on Pause. Exactly how is this being accomplished? Through the coordination of many local restaurants willing to donate time, staff, and food toward the cause. Jennifer was quick to point out Husk & Vine, Legends Bar & Grill, Villa Sorrento, and Sobol, but many other contributing restaurants and sponsors are listed on their website: www.smithtownchildrensfoundation.com.
Meals are being delivered to homes as well as getting picked up at the restaurants.
In addition to feeding those in need, other valuable contributions the Hauppauge chapter has accomplished include distributing gift cards and Easter baskets, and providing hand sanitizer to the staff of Stony Brook University Hospital’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology team. Perhaps the most touching story Jennifer shared with The Buzz involved reaching out and providing support services to the family of a 1-year old child living with cancer. They are currently residing at the Smithtown Center for the Homeless, located in Hauppauge and within the foundation’s reach.
A little about Executive Director, Jennifer O’Brien, and the Hauppauge chapter she oversees. According to the foundation’s website: “Jennifer and her family reside in Hauppauge and she is very active in the community as a mom and small business owner. Jennifer is a mother to three children…She also holds various positions to serve and give back to the local community. Jennifer is on the Board of Directors for the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce, PTA Board Member for Bretton Woods Elementary in Hauppauge School District, and on the Smithtown Industry Advisory Board…As a parent in the Hauppauge District, Jennifer is thrilled for the opportunity to work with local families and give back to the community.”
*The Smithtown Children’s Foundation is a New York State Not-for-Profit, 501c3. This Foundation is independent of the Smithtown School District or any other organization having similar objectives.