To the editor:
My name is Sadie Wilburn, of Catskill NY. Every year for the past eight years myself and a couple other mothers have raised funds and resources, and thrown a “back to school barbecue and backpack give away” for the residents of Hop-O-Nose Homes. This year the event will be held 101-6 p.m. Aug. 18. This is a public event open to all kids heading back to school. In addition to basic supplies donated for the event local businesses and organizations have contributed both monetarily and with resources such as bounce houses, a rock wall, pony rides, a petting zoo and various confection stands. Community organizations also table at the event to share information and resources available around nutrition, health and safety, and supports located in the Greene County area.
Every year it gets a bit harder to wrangle in the funds needed to make this event possible. This year and last, Hop-O-nose has been under new leadership. Last year they were hesitant to let the event happen for reasons that were never a problem in prior years. After jumping through the hoops set for us they allowed us to proceed. We requested to use some garbage cans to make clean up easier and were denied. The pushback was more than evident at this point, but we kept hope that because of the purpose of the event they may come around. We decided to ask if they would be willing to help with a donation this year, to assist with food for the event. In previous years food was purchased with donations, this year has been particularly hard for organizations to commit. The director of Hop-O-Nose agreed to put aside $500 in their annual budget to be allotted to our event. Two weeks before the event they informed us they would no longer be able to assist us. We of course asked why, received no answers, but later found out that many members of the board have recently resigned because they do not agree with the way the director is handling multiple orders of business, the denial of support for our event being one.
This event is not some pointless block party thrown for our own entertainment. We put a ton of footwork, planning, fundraising and advocating on behalf of the youth into this one day. These are children who seem all too often forgotten. These families struggle all year long to provide basic needs for their children and we feel every child deserves a fresh start as we send them back to school. Hop-O-Nose is a small community, who has for generations looked out for each child in the complex. The leadership of Hop-O-Nose, at this point doesn’t seem to be grasping this very important dynamic. For a long time, we have been taking care of ourselves and fighting back and forth with the leadership of the complex. We are at the point where we are demanding transparency and some common decency when it comes to how we, as a community, need to take care of our own.
I’m looking to make it clear that we need better for these children. These young people are our future and I take issue with the fact that it has been such a difficult road to get support from our housing Director. By writing this letter I want to raise awareness that we need more support, but also to shine a light on what amazing children Hop-O-Nose is giving the world.