On Saturday, May 5, my family and I attended the Syracuse Crawfish Festival. Proceeds go to benefit the work of Operation Northern Comfort. Operation Northern Comfort helps build ramps and repair homes for those that need assistance. This year’s festival had another beneficiary — In My Father’s Kitchen.
In My Father’s Kitchen is a not-for-profit corporation founded by John and Leigh-Ann Tumino in 2011. The purpose is to aid homeless people in our community through direct outreach.
Many homeless individuals are not always ready to leave the streets and some are hesitant about staying in emergency shelters. In My Father’s Kitchen (IMFK) provides food and basic necessities directly to these individuals, where they live on the streets, until they are comfortable accepting help or assistance. IMFK refers to their efforts as “under the bridge street outreach.” Twice a week they deliver food and supplies to people where they live — under bridges and overpasses.
By providing consistent and compassionate care, IMFK volunteers are building the necessary trust to help these people obtain the resources they need. Some homeless persons are disabled, some have mental health or addiction issues and some are reluctant to reach out for various reasons. According to their website, IMFK has helped 89 homeless individuals get off the street and into long-term shelter.
IMFK is taking on another community issue — the victims of sex trafficking. Onondaga County has, unfortunately, been identified by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services as one of the five counties in the state with the highest population of sexually exploited youth. A victim of human trafficking is in need of resources to escape their situation.
Last year, a house was donated to IMFK to use as they saw fit. “Life House” is the newest addition to the IMFK vision. Life House will be a home of transition for women trapped in a life of sex trafficking. The home was in need of renovations and a state-of-the-art security system. IMFK has been fundraising, but more financial assistance is needed to complete the project. Please consider what you could do to help this great cause.
Tim Burtis represents the third legislative district, which includes the town of Cicero and portions of the town of Manlius. Tim welcomes constituent feedback; he can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by phone at (315) 396-3300.