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The Shopper News, January 26, 2000

Feeding the hungry beautifully

By Albert Stampone, News Editor

Hasbrouck Heights -- A borough florist’s efforts to paint the town red with ribbons has once again provided the needy who frequent Eva’s Village in Paterson with meals during the holidays.

For the second year in a row, Bill O’Shea, owner of Bill O’Shea’s Florist and Gifts on the Boulevard, has sponsored the "Buy a Ribbon and Feed the Homeless" project and area residents have responded enthusiastically -- as evidenced by the nearly 300 red ribbons that have adorned the Boulevard since before the holidays.

Those who donated $10 towards the purchase of a holiday dinner at Eva’s Village on Main Street were eligible to have either their name, or the name of a deceased loved one, placed on the bows while the proceeds fed the hungry.

"Being the person that I am," said O’Shea, "and understanding there are homeless and people in need, we thought it was a great idea to decorate the Boulevard. We thought it would add to the festivities and garner money to feed the poor."

Indeed, last year $2,400 was collected and 225 ribbons were placed along the roadway on trees and telephone poles from Route 46 to Wood-Ridge.

"It was heartwarming to give the money last year," said O’Shea, who is confident his 2000 contribution will be greater than last year’s. "It was certainly in need."

Members of the Hasbrouck Heights Junior Woman’s Club contributed to the effort by physically hanging the bows with flowing streamers that currently decorate the Boulevard landscape.

Fr. John Catoir, former executive director of Eva’s Village, acknowledged O’Shea’s efforts.

"Eva’s Village is the largest comprehensive poverty program in the state and one of the largest in the country," said Catoir. "Every little bit helps and Bill has been generous to us."

What initially began as a simple soup kitchen in 1982, has evolved into much more. The kitchen, which is open every day of the year, is supported by more than 400 volunteers, 110 churches and civic organizations and 70 employees. Catoir said the kitchen serves 700 people off the street, daily. Eva’s Village, which encompasses six buildings in Paterson, also offers overnight shelters as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Donations to Eva’s Village are accepted year round. For more information call 1-973-523-6220.

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