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Port Jefferson

Photo by Julianne Mosher

Dozens of people came together to remember September 11, 2001 last week during the Port Jefferson Fire Department’s annual 9/11 memorial early Saturday morning.

Port Jefferson firefighters, EMS and juniors lined up to salute three wreaths placed at the foot of the monument, while the names of Town of Brookhaven first responders who perished during the attacks were read. A bell rang every time a name was said. 

Port Jefferson School District music teacher Christian Neubert and students Kasumi Layne-Stasik and Andrew Patterson paid tribute to those who lost their lives with several moving musical performances. 

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On Spring Street, the 1944 Hurricane brought down a tree which crashed against the Methodist Church. Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

Port Jefferson is no stranger to hurricanes, having been pummeled by the big blows several times in its past. But while most villagers are familiar with named storms such as Carol and Donna, few are aware of the powerful Great Atlantic Hurricane of September 1944 and its impact locally.

At the Port Jefferson Shipyard, yachts were driven ashore by the 1944 Hurricane and a building demolished. Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

World War II was the news in 1944, not the weather, relegating stories about an otherwise major storm to the back pages. In addition, the United States was sensitive about releasing information that could benefit the enemy, such as revealing that a defense plant had been battered by wind and wave. With little or no media coverage, the Great Atlantic Hurricane became a forgotten storm, but not by those in Port Jefferson who had experienced its fury.

The hurricane arrived in the village on Thursday, Sept. 14, about 5 p.m., beginning with torrential rains, but did not become a full force storm until about 10:30 p.m. when wind velocities ranged from 75 to 85 mph.

The gusts, combined with a normal flood tide, drove whitecaps from Long Island Sound into Port Jefferson Harbor and over the village’s shorefront, inundating some areas with more than two feet of seawater.

The 1944 Hurricane destroyed the Long Island Ice Company’s refrigeration plant on Port Jefferson’s East Broadway. Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

Surf Avenue (East Broadway) was particularly hard hit. The hurricane wrecked the lunchroom and gift shop at Bayles Landing, destroyed the Long Island Ice Company’s refrigeration plant, tore off the back of the Keystone Coal Company’s building, blew away the planking at the Standard Oil Company’s dock, and lashed what was once Wilson’s Sail Loft.

The bulkhead was undermined, plantings were washed away and the pavilion was damaged at Brookhaven Town’s new waterfront park, now Mary Bayles Park, which had been completed just days before the storm.

Seawater entered the Harborview Hotel, covering the ground floor, and the Vandall Building, bringing muck and mud into the Port Jefferson Service Club, a hospitality center for America’s uniformed military personnel.

But Surf Avenue was not the only area in Port Jefferson to feel the hurricane’s savage force. On West Broadway, the storm hammered the South Bay Water Company’s pumping station, the Tydol Oil Company’s pier and the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company’s freight office. Six yachts stored at the Port Jefferson Shipyard were driven ashore and a building was demolished.

The proprietor of Teddy’s Hotel at the foot of Main Street reported that 36 to 40 inches of water had flooded his cocktail lounge and dining room. In nearby stores, basements were submerged, the deluge spreading up to the police station on Arden Place. At Bishop’s Garage on the corner of Main Street and West Broadway, cars were ruined as seawater fouled their engines.

The 1944 Hurricane hammered the South Bay Water Company’s pumping station along Port Jefferson’s West Broadway. Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

On the west side of the village, a large oil storage tank was toppled at the Swezey Coal and Feed Company’s property on Beach Street. Numerous boats sank in the yacht basin and small craft were later found along area beaches and in the salt meadow off West Broadway, blown far from their original locations.

Trees and utility poles were downed by the hurricane, taking out electric and telephone lines throughout Port Jefferson. On the corner of Main and Spring streets, one old tree cut wires as it crashed against the Methodist Church, but miraculously spared the building from serious damage. Two weeks after the storm, the village was still without full electric service.

The Port Jefferson Fire Department performed tirelessly throughout the emergency, pumping out flooded cellars in the village’s homes and businesses. The dedicated volunteers also provided electric generators at lightless Mather Memorial and St. Charles hospitals.

With so many draft-age men serving in the armed forces, younger citizens assisted police and highway departments in the days following the hurricane. The Minute Men Cadets, a unit of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office, patrolled downtown Port Jefferson’s darkened streets, protecting property from looters and vandals. Members of the Junior Auxiliary Brookhaven Town Police Department directed traffic in the village and cleared debris from its clogged roads.

The 1944 Hurricane blocked Port Jefferson’s East Broadway with downed utility poles, toppled trees and storm wreckage. Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

Although it would be tempting to compare the 1944 storm with other hurricanes that have walloped Port Jefferson, the effect of World War II on the village must be considered, making ranking difficult. For example, was power restored slowly in Port Jefferson because of the widespread damage resulting from the 1944 storm, wartime labor shortages, or both? Regardless, the Great Atlantic Hurricane was hardly a “forgotten storm” among villagers who had lived through the harrowing event.

Kenneth Brady has served as the Port Jefferson Village Historian and president of the Port Jefferson Conservancy, as well as on the boards of the Suffolk County Historical Society, Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council and Port Jefferson Historical Society. He is a longtime resident of Port Jefferson.     

Port Jefferson senior quarterback Luke Filippi breaks to the outside on a keeper in the Royals season opener against Shoreham-Wading River. Bill Landon photo

Shoreham-Wading River running back Max Barone was a one-man wrecking crew as the senior powered his way in to the endzone five times in the Wildcats season opener 42-7 victory at Port Jefferson in a league IV matchup Sept 11.

The Royals struggled to find traction until late in the 3rd quarter when senior line-backer John Sheils recovered a Wildcat fumble and punched in for the Royals’ lone touchdown on the day. Port Jeff senior Kyle Yannucci’s kick was good to trail 35-7.

Will Hart, the freshman running-back for the Wildcats, found the end-zone midway through the 4th quarter and Ryan Farron’s foot drilled the uprights for the final score. Farron was perfect on the day nailing all six extra points.

The Royals look to regroup when they retake the field in a road game against Greenport/Southold/Mattituck Sept 17. Kick is at 6 p.m.

The Wildcats are back in action at home to take on Miller Place Sept 18 with a 1 p.m. start.

All photos by Bill Landon

Photo by Julianne Mosher

The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America Vigiano Brothers Lodge 3436 gathered in Harborfront Park Saturday morning to remember two Long Island brothers who perished during the September 11 attacks.

Joseph, a police officer, and John, a firefighter, were among the nearly 500 Long Islanders who died 20 years ago on 9/11. Both brothers were from Deer Park.

Every year, the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America host a candlelight vigial to remember the lives of the Vigiano brothers and the other first responders who lost their lives that day.

The 9/11 memorial in Hauppauge. File photo by Rita J. Egan

“One of the worst days in American history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” — Former President George W. Bush

These were the patriotic thoughts of this president who reflected on the heroic services that were demonstrated by Americans during and after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. 

While it has been 20 years since our nation was attacked by the sting of terrorism, Americans have not forgotten this tragic moment. On the North Shore — about 80 miles from Manhattan at its easterly point — there are many memorials that honor the local residents who were killed, the dedication of the rescue workers and the War on Terror veterans who defended this nation at home and abroad for the last two decades.

There has been a tremendous amount of support from the local municipalities, state and local governments, along with school districts to never forget 9/11. People do not have to look far to notice the different types of memorials, landmarks and resting places that represent those harrowing moments and the sacrifices that were made to help others and defend this country. 

Calverton National Cemetery

Driving northwest on Route 25A, it is possible to quickly see the reminders of sacrifice within the Calverton National Cemetery. This sacred ground is one of the largest military burial grounds in America and driving through its roads, there are flags that have been placed for veterans of all conflicts — especially the most recent during the War on Terror. 

One of the most visited sites there is that of Patchogue resident Lt. Michael P. Murphy who was killed in 2005 in Afghanistan, where under intense enemy fire he tried to call in support to rescue his outnumbered four-man SEAL team. 

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, local residents can also see his name gracing the front of Patchogue-Medford High School, the post office in Patchogue, the Navy SEAL Museum that is near completion in West Sayville, and a memorial created for him on the east side of Lake Ronkonkoma, where he was a lifeguard.

Shoreham-Wading River—Rocky Point—Sound Beach—Mount Sinai

West of Calverton, at the main entrance of Shoreham-Wading River High School, you will notice a baseball field located between the road and the Kerry P. Hein Army Reserve Center. 

One of this field’s former players, Kevin Williams, was killed on 9/11, where he was a bond salesman for Sandler O’Neill, in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This 24-year-old young man was a talented athlete who was recognized with MVP honors on the baseball, golf and basketball teams for the high school. 

A foundation has been created in the name of Williams, an avid New York Yankees fan, that has helped provide financial support to baseball and softball players unable to afford attending sports camps. 

Not far from Shoreham, driving westward, motorists will notice the strength, size and beauty of the Rocky Point Fire Department 9/11 memorial. This structure is located on Route 25A, on the west side of the firehouse.

Immediately, people will notice the impressive steel piece that is standing tall in the middle of a fountain, surrounded by a walkway with bricks that have special written messages. In the background, there are names of the people killed during these attacks and plaques that have been created to recognize the services of the rescue workers and all of those people lost.  

Heading west into Rocky Point’s downtown business district, VFW Post 6249 has a 9/11 tribute with steel from lower Manhattan. Less than a half mile away, on Broadway and Route 25A, the Joseph P. Dwyer statue proudly stands high overlooking the activity of the busy corner.  

This veteran’s square remembers the service of PFC Dwyer, who enlisted into the Army directly after this nation was attacked and fought in Iraq. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and this statue supports all veterans who have dealt with these hard psychological and physical conditions. 

A short distance away, the Sound Beach Fire Department also created a special structure on its grounds through a neighborhood feeling of remembrance toward all of those people lost.

Heading west toward Mount Sinai, it is easy to observe a wonderful sense of pride through the Heritage Park by its display of American flags. On the Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day, residents see these national and state colors, and this always presents a great deal of patriotism for the people utilizing this park.

Coram—Port Jefferson—St. James 

More south on County Road 83 and North Ocean Avenue, visitors of all ages enjoy the Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram. There, people have the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial Learning Site. This site honors all of the citizens lost from the townships of Brookhaven and Riverhead, the rescue workers and War on Terror veterans.  

For 10 years, the site has helped reflect on this assault on America through the major bronze plaques with historical information, black granite pictures, benches, and statues of a bronze eagle and a rescue dog that helped search for survivors of the attack at the World Trade Center.

Leaving this park and going north into the village of Port Jefferson, people enjoy the beauty of its harbor, its stores, and they see traffic enter via ferry from Connecticut. Through the activity of this bustling area, there is a large bronze eagle that is placed on a high granite platform.  

Perched high, citizens from two different states brought together by the ferry are able to walk by this memorial that helps recognize the lost people of Long Island and the New England state. Driving near the water through Setauket, Stony Brook and into St. James, there is a major 7-ton memorial that highlights a “bowtie section” of steel from the World Trade Center.  

Due to the type of steel on display, there are few memorials that capture the spirit of the St. James Fire Department 9/11 site.

Nesconset—Hauppauge—Smithtown

Traveling south down Lake Avenue toward Gibbs Pond Road and Lake Ronkonkoma, the 9/11 Responders Remembered Memorial Park in Nesconset is located at 316 Smithtown Blvd. This is a vastly different place of remembrance, as it is continually updated with the names of fallen rescue workers who have died since the attacks 20 years ago. 

Taking Townline Road west into Hauppauge toward Veterans Highway and Route 347, you will end up at the Suffolk County government buildings. 

Directly across from Blydenburgh Park in Smithtown, is a major 9/11 memorial created by the county. This memorial has 179 pieces of glass etched with the 178 names of the Suffolk County residents killed on September 11, with one extra panel to honor the volunteers who built the memorial.

As commuters head west to reach the Northern State Parkway, they drive by a major structure that was created to recognize all of those citizens from Huntington to Montauk killed on 9/11 by terrorism. It is just one of many such monuments created by our local townships, fire departments, parks and schools.  

Even after 20 years, our society has not forgotten about the beautiful day that turned out to be one of the most tragic moments in our history.  

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College.

World Trade Center Twin Towers. Stock photo

It’s been 20 years since the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11, 2001, which now means that high school students were nowhere near alive when the events actually took place.

The history teachers in local schools remember that day vividly — some were just children themselves in school that warm Tuesday morning.

Districts across the Long Island now include what happened that day in their curriculum — a day that impacted nearly 500 Long Islanders who were among the nearly 3,000 people killed at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93. 

At Port Jefferson high school, 11th grade U.S. history teacher Jesse Rosen said that the district uses the story of one of its own to teach students about what happened — the documentary “Man in Red Bandana.”

“As a department, we were exposed to this heroic story through a former graduate of PJHS, James Burke,” Rosen said. “James’ uncle, William F. Burke Jr., gave his life in the line of duty as an FDNY member on September 11, 2001. As a result, James and his family were introduced to other stories of heroism.”

Rosen, who is in his 15th year at the high school, said he was a freshman at SUNY Albany during the September 11 attacks. 

This image of James Burke hangs on the bulletin board of Jesse Rosen’s U.S. history classroom. It is a true reminder to ‘Never Forget.’ Photo from PJSD

“I remember an introductory to psychology class being canceled, walking back to my dorm seeing many other students with canceled classes,” he said. “After putting on the television in my dorm room, I recall watching the plane hit the second tower. Above all else, I recall a state of shock and confusion. At the time, I was completely unaware of the magnitude of the events that were unfolding.”

Bryan Vaccaro, a global studies teacher at the high school, was younger than his current students in 2001. He was in third grade.

“I can vividly recall that day moment by moment,” he said. “Most kids in my class were being picked up from school but me, and I wondered why everyone was leaving but me. When I got home seeing the images unfold on television was surreal, almost as if you couldn’t believe what was happening. An extra level of worry settled in as well since my uncle was a firefighter in the FDNY in Company Squad 270 at the time whose main focus was search and rescue.”

Vaccaro, who has been with the school district for five years, said that when he has to teach his students about September 11, it’s important to tackle the topic head on and make sure students are aware of how the events unfolded that day.

“Many don’t know that there were four total planes in three different locations, simply because at this point none of them were born,” he said. “We always welcome hard-hitting questions in the classroom and discuss thoroughly.”

He added when students learn about the events, they’re overwhelmed with emotion — shocked because although they’ve been exposed to images and videos of the attacks, they have minimal knowledge about what actually happened.

“By the end of the lesson I think their understanding is heavily increased,” he said. “My main premise for my 9/11 lesson is to prove that there are impactful moments in history where time stands still, and you can vividly depict where you were at that specific time.”

Vaccaro said each generation has those moments.

“Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, the Space Shuttle Challenger, 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, etc.,” he noted. “And I make sure the students understand that it could happen next week, next year, 20 years from now, but there will be those moments for them. It makes history real and personal.”

Over the last 20 years, Island residents have felt a deep connection to that day. Vaccaro said that while it’s a sensitive and hard topic to talk about, it needs to be done. 

File photo

“I don’t think it’s difficult to teach a subject that hits home for Long Islanders,” he said. “It’s something that needs to be embraced wholeheartedly. It’s part of our story as a region and a country. It showed our resolve as people and proof that we can unite in times of chaos and tragedy — a characteristic that makes us the greatest country in the world.”

High school social studies and special education teacher Melissa Zinger has been an educator for 15 years, the last 10 at Earl. L. Vandermeulen High School. 

“On September 11, 2001, I was attending college on Long Island and was at home,” she said. “I remember my mother calling and asking me if I had heard what happened and to turn on the news. As we were on the phone the second plane hit. As I continued watching the news, my dad stormed through the front door in a panic after he raced home from work. He immediately did two things. He tried calling the Red Cross as he told me, ‘They will need blood and supplies,’ and next he made sure our American flag was hanging outside.”

Zinger said that reflecting on what happened 20 years ago, she realized that her parents’ reactions were different than what she was feeling personally.

“I watched the day unfold in shock, and my dad watched the day unfold with fear,” she said. 

Now as a teacher, she said her approach to teaching about 9/11 has changed.

“In my first few years of teaching, the approach was more reflective as students had their own memories of that day,” she said.  “And over the years, the students only know about 9/11 from what they have heard, so the approach has to also be educational, informative and reflective.”

As an educator, she has her own connection, experiences and emotions from that time, but she is able to see what her students feel depending on the closeness to their homes and experiences of their families. 

“Over the years the responses from students have changed as the students have no longer ‘lived through it’ as opposed to have lived through the impacts from it,” Zinger added. “In the beginning years of my teaching, students would share their memories of that day, one student I recall even remembering the exact name of the color crayon he was using when his mother got the call. Presently, I believe that the students are aware of the events and some more personally than others, however, a true understanding of how tragic and life changing for a country I believe they don’t. All they know is life post-9/11.”

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Edna Louise Spear Elementary School music teacher Christian Neubert introduced students to music lessons. Photo from PJSD

The Port Jefferson School District welcomed students back for the 2021-2022 school year on Sept. 2. 

Edna Louise Spear Elementary School second grade teacher Carleen Parmegiani
prepared a lesson for her class. Photo from PJSD

Greeted by teachers and administrators throughout the district, students met teachers and classmates while quickly adapting to their new routines as they move forward in an engaging and productive academic year.

Photo by Julianne Mosher

The North Shore of Long Island was hit hard when the aftermath of Tropical Depression Ida swept along the East Coast.

While the storm pummeled the Island Wednesday night, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Suffolk County. Severe flooding headed down Main Street, E Broadway and the side streets of Port Jefferson, causing damage to local stores, the Port Jefferson Fire Department and Theatre Three.

Photo from PJFD

On Wednesday night the fire department responded to numerous water rescue emergencies, and multiple victims were rescued from their vehicles by its High Water unit. They were joined by the Terryville Fire Department and Mount Sinai Fire Department.

According to the PJFD, in some cases, civilians were found on the roof of their vehicles, or trapped within a floating vehicle. Additionally, a landslide took place on Dark Hallow Road, which left the road essentially impassable with nearly 4-feet of mud and debris.

As a result of the landslide, eight families were evacuated from their apartment building due to unstable conditions of the land.

While fire department volunteers made their ways out to help others, they, too, were victims of the storm. The firehouse on Maple Avenue suffered extensive flood damage.

“Our firefighters did an excellent job coordinating multiple rescues,” said Chief of Department Todd Stumpf. “We have a lot of cleanup ahead, but we are fully in service and able to respond to all emergencies.”

Photo from PJFD

He added that fortunately no injuries were reported during the storm.

Down the street, Theatre Three said they had more than three-and-a-half feet of water inside as of Wednesday morning.

Executive artistic director Jeffrey Sanzel said that the theatre has had its fair share of floods throughout the years, and even though they were more prepared for Ida than others in the past, it was still a hard hit.

“This will be two or three days of cleaning,” he said, “But we’ll get it done and you won’t know what happened.”

Water record-setting levels heading too close for comfort to the stage downstairs. Sanzel said water knocked over and carried one of the dumpsters outside, as well as damaged dozens of costumes, furniture and a beautiful, donated upright piano that is now ruined.

Other businesses like Ruvo and Lavender Fields had flood damage and are currently in the midst of cleaning up.

“Port Jeff was hit again with a flash flood of over 7’’ of torrential rainfall,” said Mayor Margot Garant. “While it hit hard, we remain resilient and continue our work with the state emergency office and state agencies on our flood remediation efforts.”

Some cosmetic changes are coming to Danfords after this season. Photo by Julianne Mosher

After announcing earlier this month that Rhode Island-based hospitality management firm, TPG Hotels, Resorts & Marinas had bought Port Jefferson’s Danfords, many have been wondering what this means for the iconic hotel, spa and restaurant in the heart of the village. 

Robert Leven, chief investment officer of Procaccianti Companies, the overseeing group of TPG, said that because the transaction happened in the midst of its busy season, nothing is going to change just yet. 

“We haven’t made a lot of changes at this point,” he said. “We just stepped in to get our systems set up and try to get everybody on board successfully. I think it’s been reasonably smooth, and it’s been going well.”

According to Leven, TPG began talking to The Crest Group in February 2021 to take over Danfords, The Waterview at Port Jefferson Country Club and The Club steakhouse. 

“The deal took a long time to get done,” he said, due to the size of the transaction and all the entities included. 

While Leven can’t speak for The Crest Group, he said that the COVID-19 pandemic hit the hotel industry hard.

“When this is not your core business, and particularly an operation like this, which is hotels, significant food and beverage, a spa, a country club, a marina, there a lot of things going on here,” he said. “I just think it was a lot for them to stay on top of and with the combination of the pandemic, it probably made them say, ‘OK, you know, maybe now’s the time for us to go in another direction.’”

But the new owners are excited for what they can bring. 

Rob Leven

Danfords is one of three acquisitions within the last nine months in TPG’s newly launched Marina platform. TPG has also acquired two Rhode Island businesses: Dutch Harbor Boat Yard in Jamestown this June; and Champlin’s Marina & Resort on Block Island in December 2020. The latter is currently undergoing extensive renovations as part of a comprehensive property improvement plan.

Leven said that TPG is planning on giving the Port Jefferson resort a facelift, as well. First on the list of to-dos include upgrading scenery outside with new plants and flowers, and improving other parts of the hotel’s exterior. 

“What we’re really going to be focused on is guest rooms and doing a pretty significant upgrade and redo of them,” he said. “We hope to modernize them, freshen them up and bring it sort of to current design standards to elevate the product. … It’ll be a pretty significant transformation from what exists there now.”

Their goal is that people are getting an appropriate product for what they’re paying.

Leven added that while capital had been spent previously on the public areas and in the restaurant side of the resort, he believes the guest rooms had “kind of lacked the attention.”

But because of the transaction finalizing in the middle of their busy season, the upgrades to its 92 guest rooms and suites won’t start until the off-season, to be completed next year. 

That being said, the food and beverage side of the resort, including WAVE restaurant at Danfords, The Club and The Waterview, will also stay the same for at least the next year. 

“We’re doing some things like analyzing the menus and some of the processes in the food and beverage operation to see where we can do things differently or better,” Leven said.

Photo by Julianne Mosher

Local nonprofit Give Kids Hope Inc. is bringing a thrift store to Port Jefferson’s uptown.

Filling the vacant spot where Sue La La Couture previously was, the Give Kids Hope thrift store is a new endeavor that founder Melissa Paulson said will bring more resources to people struggling within the community. 

“Our previous location was very small,” she said. “This now gives us more flexibility with having programs for families or other free events.”

An inside look at the new Give Kids Hope thrift store in uptown Port Jefferson. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Now located at 1506 Main St., the front of the store will be a shop where people can find housewares, antiques, furniture and other trinkets. By selling items like these, Paulson said it will help keep the nonprofit’s overhead going, as well as provide funds for the food pantry in the back of the store. 

But that doesn’t stop the original mentality behind her organization. 

“Items like clothing, toys, shoes, essentials and pantry are always free to families in need,” she said. 

Give Kids Hope Inc. is a 501(c)(3) that Paulson started nearly a decade ago after her daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma at just 18 months old. It was during this time that Paulson decided she wanted to devote her free time to charity. 

“I knew I wanted to do something to help other families in similar situations,” she previously told TBR News Media.

That’s when Give Kids Hope was born. Paulson created the nonprofit to help children and their families battling cancer, and as the years went on Paulson began seeing how many other people were in need around her. 

“There are so many less fortunate people in the community,” she said. “I never realized how many Long Islanders are struggling just to put food on their tables and a roof over their heads.”

She began gathering supplies she knew people would need, especially around the holidays, to donate to shelters, housing units and food pantries — and she was doing it out of her home for many of those years. 

Last year, she opened up her first brick-and-mortar location in Port Jefferson Station at 4390 Nesconset Highway. When that lease was up this summer, she said, she decided to move closer to the village where foot traffic and parking are better.

Right next to the thrift store is a parking lot with plenty of spaces, which Paulson said will help bring people in to browse.

“It will drive people here and allow them to shop, that way we can help more families in the area,” she said. 

Paulson said that because items in the thrift shop will be donated, the inventory will constantly change. 

 Photo by Julianne Mosher

“Everything that we’re collecting and selling ranges from antiques, collectibles, home decor — all the nonessential items that people don’t need, but more so want,” she said. “We have seasonal decor, vintage jewelry … we’re hoping to get more people to donate a variety of different things.”

She added that items will also be available for purchase on Facebook and easy pickup.

Paulson, a Port Jefferson resident, said that although the previous location was good for the time, she hopes that the larger space will allow her and her volunteers to host different events that will benefit locals — especially children.

“If the funding comes in, we’ll be more than happy to offer additional programs,” she said. “But as always, the pantry is a given and then our free ‘shopping’ events.”

Give Kids Hope has several events throughout the year where people in need can come to the location and browse and “shop” for things, like back-to-school supplies or holiday gifts. All the items are free.

She added that the nonprofit is looking for volunteers and grant writers. 

“The key thing is to keep our doors open, so if anybody has items to donate, we encourage them to get involved,” she said. “I encourage people to come down and get to know us, to see who we serve and also be a part of making the change. It’s a really wonderful thing and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

Paulson said that if anyone or a family are struggling in the local community to reach out to Give Kids Hope.

The thrift store is currently open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Hours may change and donations are accepted at the store during these times.