In 1983, five women religious –one of whom is a Dominican Sister of Hope– decided to respond to the need they saw on the streets of Newburgh, New York. While many residents chose to leave due to a weakening economy and increased poverty, these women rented a store front on Broadway, put on a pot of hot coffee, and responded to the needs of those around them.
Thirty years later, the coffee pot is still perking. The Newburgh Ministry was incorporated in 1988; current programs include a pre-employment program that provides people with rides for job interviews, a play center for children, a thrift store, homework help, a medical clinic, jewelry making classes, and, of course, a hospitality center where people can come and talk, read the newspaper, play dominos, share stories, or just sit quietly.
“The services offered are different, the place is different, but the focus remains the same: What are the needs of the people, and how do we meet those needs?”
Dominican Sisters of Hope Margaret Anderson and Patricia Sullivan serve on the Board of the Ministry, along with laywomen Associate Dominican Sisters of Hope. Below, Sister Margaret Anderson talks about what inspired her to join the Newburgh Ministry, and why she sticks with it all these years later.
Why have you stayed on the Board of the Ministry?
Sister Margaret shares a first-hand experience of poverty:
What is fulfilling about serving the Ministry, and where do you want to see it go?