During fierce storms and heavy snow, some of the most vulnerable in the community -- the homeless -- find themselves in grave, life-threatening danger, some with nothing more than a tent to protect them from the harsh elements.
But when Friday's blizzard conditions began, volunteers from Maureen's Haven -- a program run under the auspices of the Peconic Community Council in Riverhead to provide the East End's homeless with shelter and food during the cold winter months -- banded together to provide the homeless with shelter from the storm.
"We have the most phenomenal volunteers," Tracey Lutz, executive director of the Maureen's Haven homeless outreach program, said. "Guests stayed at the Northville Grange Hall in Riverhead, thanks to First Parish Church, and Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hampton Bays from Friday at 4 p.m. until 7 a.m. Sunday morning."
Lutz said volunteers from the Assembly of God Church in Hampton Bays and Southampton Presbyterian Church, as well as some Maureen's Haven board members, helped out at the Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church -- and even the homeless lent a hand.
"Many of the guests assisted with digging out," Lutz said.
Despite the hazards, the homeless were all brought in from the cold, Lutz said. "We were able to get all of our guests to safe haven -- including those we know like to stay in tents."