May 22, 2008

Allentown's Father Flanagan


My mother was a tough cookie; but, about once a year, in the late 40's and early 50's, she would get misty eyed as the letter from Boy's Town arrived. It was that picture, the boy carrying his brother, with the caption saying "He's not heavy..." The twenty dollar bill would go into the envelope, and you wouldn't want to get in her way to the mailbox. Well it seems my mother wasn't the only one, Father Flanagan had rooms full of money.* Here in Allentown Gary Millspaugh of the Rescue Mission, has his own special flyer, it shows a grisly man waiting for a turkey meal around Thanksgiving. Like the boys in Flanagan's picture who never get older, Millspaugh's guy never gets a shave and stays skinny. I guess what made me a cynic is my associates who actually donated apartment houses to the Mission, and the constables who evict people from them for not paying rent. I can't get my arms around a homeless shelter which makes people homeless. This posting could be the end of me. After all, Bobby Gunther Walsh makes meatballs by hand to raise money for Gary. My girlfriend's parents, in their nineties,look forward to Gary's talk at their church. Gary talks to all the churches in the West End. I gotta go hide now, I hear Bernie O'Hare pounding on my door...

* http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE4DE153CF934A35753C1A966958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2

13 comments:

Bernie O'Hare said...

You bastard!

Come with me next week when I meet Gary. He spoke to me about the homes rented out, and I'm sure they do have to evict tenants. Did you know that 90% of the money going to the Allentown Rescue Mission is private? I would think his work is a dream come true for a conservative who hates when the government tries to address poverty.

So come with me next week, and bring a few deeds.

Mrs. Dottie said...

MM,

I can respect your POV on this issue, even though I tend to be a bleeding heart liberal. When I taught in the A-town schools I actually saw hungry kids without coats and I would give them snacks, even though those same kids would steal my supplies and think that they were entitled to them. That would really bother me. I guess there are people who take advantage of the freebies, but you cannot blame a child who was born into poverty.

michael molovinsky said...

confessions of a blogger; between 2:30 and 4:30 in the morning, after I posted this piece, but before anybody read it, I debated hitting the delete button. did I really want to offend someone's sense of good? in addition to helping others, giving to a charity makes one feel good about themselves. although what i said about the Mission is absolutely true, i will not provide details, to do so would invade the private acts of others. the Mission does much good work, and Allentown is much better off because of them. however, people should realize when they make a donation, it's going to a multi-million dollar operation.

Anonymous said...

MM, I am glad you DIDN'T delete it because you are just saying what many may have wanted to for years. Or perhaps it will educate people and have them think twice before donating to ANY charity without knowing if their donation is actually helping someone. If the charities are righteous and doing as they say, then your comments will have no effect on them, but if there is some shadiness, well....
"Everything in darkness shall come to light"

Alfonso Todd

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm glad you posted your thoughts, too. But I want you to come wiht me and meet Gary next week.

Mrs. Dottie said...

I've heard that clothing donations to Goodwill sometimes go to China.
That's why they will take anything in any condition. Anyone else hear this, or is it just a rumor?

Anonymous said...

Quoting Mister Molovinsky - ".....although what i said about the Mission is absolutely true, i will not provide details, to do so would invade the private acts of others."

Gotta love it - tar the good work of others, provide no proof, hide behind vague statements. Stuff like that makes all conservatives look like a bunch of idiots. I'm conservative, but I also have a conscience and a heart. I sure as hell don't need people like you on my team.

By the way Mister Molovinsky, being a landlord means making the difficult choice of evicting people. It's hard, it sucks, and It's a fact of life. I sit on the board of an Allentown non-profit that manages rental units for low-income people. We don't like to evict, we try not to evict. But sometimes we have to, because to act otherwise would damage the organization and impact our ability to help many others. Repeating - it hard, it sucks, and it's a fact of life.

Now for what appears to be the purpose of your post - the Rescue Mission is one of the last nets to catch people. And you want to cut it down????

Bernie, get his ass down there and don't let him leave until his eyes are open.

Forgive my anger, but statements like this are beyond the pale.....

michael molovinsky said...

dear 8:48, that the mission received apartment buildings and evicts people is a fact of public record, i choose not to reveal who donated the buildings. at least when i "tar' someone i have the guts to use my name, more than you. as i stated in a previous comment they do much good work, but i feel they have overgrown their purpose with rental units. i don't have it in my power to "cut them down" i think if your operating on a three million dollar annual budget, your solicitations shouldn't suggest the money is for someone's turkey meal at thanksgiving.

michael molovinsky said...

correction: rescue mission budget is 2.14 million

Anonymous said...

So it's your view that a non-profit with a budget over a certain level is not as capable of doing good as a smaller organization?

Ever hear of efficiencies of scale?

Sure hope your major isn't in finance or economics, if it was you sure pissed away your money on that degree.

As noted on many other blogs, sometimes we have to remain anonymous. Unfortunately I fit in that camp. I apologize for that, you've registered your righteous indignation. Point covered.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:24, despite another insult from you, let me say for the third time, I feel overall allentown is certainly much better off because of the rescue mission. for close to ninety years it operated without being in the apartment business. it presents this change with the justification of "graduate housing", etc. my post simply suggests this "graduate program" was not necessary to their stated mission of being a homeless shelter. yes, it is necessary to evict in the apartment business, but it is not necessary to be in the apartment business.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the mission's expansion into rental housing is very misleading to their donors.

I also feel it is very dangerous for Allentown. Has the rescue mission considered spreading the burden of their "apartment services" by offering this transition housing in other municipalities?

Chris Casey said...

I often disagree with MM, but on this one he is right. I have seen more than my share of non-profits who weren't what they seemed in my time. Asking accountability of the Faith Mission and their operations as landlords is reasonable, in light of their funding. They do great work, but lets do what we have to to rule out any doubt about it.
As a former member of a St. Vincent DePaul Group, we always explained in detail every cent collected and on what needs it was allocated. We took pains to make sure an apartment owner in the church who rented to low income families, didn't get favorable treatment for his tenants if they were in need. There should always be transparency and accountability.
Good for Mike that he is pointing this out.