The mission of The People’s Place is to share the blessings of food and clothing with the unemployed, working poor, elderly, and the physically and mentally challenged in the greater Kingston area by responding to their basic needs, through the generosity of the community. Providing these services in a compassionate and caring environment, we aim to sustain health, human dignity and the opportunity for individuals to meet their full potential.
The People’s Place History
Mount St. Alphonsus Redemptorist Priests and Brothers, located in Esopus, NY, began The People’s Place in 1972, as a community outreach project for their seminary students, who were studying to become Priests or Brothers, to experience working first hand with those in need.
Mount St. Alphonsus Redemptorist Priests and Brothers started a “mission”, located in a rental storefront at 105 Abeel Street, Kingston, N.Y. to reach out to disadvantaged families and children in the Rondout area of Kingston. The mission’s purpose was to help children with educational issues and was initially used as a teaching classroom. Early offerings at People’s Place, included classes in reading and mathematics, which were taught by a volunteer teacher from Kingston High School, and help to prepare students for their GED diploma’s. Children, between the ages of 4 and 14, were offered arts, crafts, bible study and field trips. The needs of the community quickly indicated that more outreach in the way of food and clothing were needed. To meet these needs, the thrift store and food pantry were created. The seminary students then did referral work to local agencies and distributed food baskets to needy families at Thanksgiving. At Christmas and Easter parties were held for the children and families. The People’s Place “mission” always had an emergency supply of food available and sold or gave away clothing. In 1977, in cooperation with Ulster County Social Services, The Food Closet began, which is now known as The People’s Place Food Pantry. At this time they were serving 75-85 families per year. In 2011, 40 years later, 353 families and 1,191 individuals were served at Thanksgiving alone and the food pantry gave out a total of 99, 161 meals throughout the year and served over 12,000 individuals and families in need.
Volunteers became more involved in 1981 to help the Mount St. Alphonsus Redemptorist Priests and Brothers with their mission. In 1985, the Mount St. Alphonsus Redemptorist Priests and Brothers were transferred to Washington and the management of The People’s Place mission was transferred to 25 volunteers. As buildings were sold, the mission moved several times within the City of Kingston, and finally in 2006 renting a space at 773 Broadway Avenue, where they still reside. In 2012, The People’s Place is now run by a 9 member, volunteer Board of Directors, an Executive Director, a part-time bookkeeper and over 30 volunteers. 3 Volunteers currently serve on the Board of Directors and all work together with the Executive Director to set policies and govern oversight for the mission.
Funding for the People’s Place mission comes from individual donors, sponsors, grants, fund raisers and special events. The Relay, was a major source of funding for over two and a half decades. It was originally formed by the Redemptorist Brother Doug Klukken in 1982, with a two-fold purpose. First, to have the children of Kingston and the surrounding areas participate in a fund raiser that would help needy families, and secondly, bring the children together to celebrate their achievements.
In 2013, The People’s Place is celebrating their 41th Anniversary of service to the community of Kingston, and surrounding areas. They continue their Thanksgiving Holiday dinners, and at Christmas collect toys, clothing, books, and stocking stuffers to give away to children from infancy to age 14. The Food Pantry, is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 1 pm, and supplies canned, boxed, fresh and frozen food that equals at least 3 meals a day, with 3 days of food provided. Clients register and may receive free food every 30 days. Plus, a mixture of free food items are supplied daily to anyone who visits the mission. The Thrift Store provides free and affordable clothing, footwear and household items and is one of the major sources of funding for the Food Pantry. The Personal Care Closet offers families and individuals a place to come to receive toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and deodorant to help maintain their dignity.
40 years of service to the community has firmly established the People’s Place commitment to improving the lives of low-income families and children in the greater Kingston area.