The Towns of Babylon and Smithtown Team Up to Put Recovery to Work While Fostering Recovery Friendly Workplaces
Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer teamed up with Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim as both municipalities partner with the Gino Macchio Foundation’s Put Recovery to Work program. The initiative assists local individuals in recovery with employment opportunities, and encourages the business community to foster recovery-friendly workplaces. On Tuesday, September 6th, 2022, the Smithtown Town Board unanimously voted to approve $70,000 in ARPA funds to go towards the Gino Macchio Foundation's Put Recovery to Work Program, for the purpose of providing local jobs to local individuals in recovery.
“Over these past two years, the social isolation, additional stress and reduced access for substance use treatments has resulted in a significant increase in substance abuse and overdoses during the coronavirus pandemic… On Tuesday, the Town Board unanimously voted to use $70,000 in ARPA funds to go towards the Gino Macchio Foundation's Put Recovery to Work Program, giving employment opportunities to local individuals in recovery at local businesses. ARPA funds were originally intended to go to local municipalities for the purpose of getting communities back on their feet and I want to thank Supervisor Schaffer for seeing the vital importance in both removing the stigma which has plagued addiction recovery for far too long… And for being the first to take action to foster and encourage efforts to promote recovery-friendly workplaces at a local level.” - Supervisor Ed Wehrheim
Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer presented the Gino Macchio Foundation with a $49,500 check towards the program as well, in a show of solidarity to promote recovery-friendly workplaces. Additionally, the Town of Babylon had approved the use of ARPA funds to build a Beacon Family Wellness Center in North Babylon. The second location will house the Gino Macchio Foundation’s Put Recovery to Work Program, where the organization will offer job/career training as a component of the initiative.
“When this program really takes off, the lives that are going to be saved as a result of Gino and this organization is going to be tremendous… We’ve also brought a check with us from the Town of Babylon. We approved $49,500 in ARPA funds to go along with the $70,000 from Smithtown. And finally, we’re building a second location for our Beacon Family Wellness Center in Amityville. It’s going to be built where the Sayonara Motel formerly was. It burnt down and we acquired the property. We’re going to build something that is going to create lives instead of destroying lives there. Upon completion, the second floor will be the Gino Macchio Foundation job placement center.” - Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer
The announcements come at the beginning of National Recovery Month, aimed at educating and enabling individuals and families coping with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live healthy and rewarding lives.
“I’ve worked in this field for about 40 years. And in my career, I have never seen such catastrophic devastation caused by drug addiction, exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. So much has come out of the COVID pandemic, with relation to people’s ability to survive and manage their relationships. Not only as a director of a facility, as a private practitioner as well, I’ve seen many referrals come from people who are struggling with relationships, marriages, struggling with finances, and as a consequence of that struggle, many people turn to alcohol, many people turn to drugs to find relief… and it just causes greater devastation. As I said before, throughout my 40 years in this profession, I have never witnessed such catastrophic devastation.” - Sal LaFemina, Director of Beacon Family Wellness Center
“Those who have problematic alcohol and substance use lose a lot due to the drink or the drug. Their health is impacted, their mental health, their families, their relationships, their social circles, their freedom, their jobs. Initiatives such as what the supervisors have discussed today allow for more than a body in the chair at an office, an extra hand at the local grocery store or waitress at the local diner, these types of opportunities allow for folks who are in need to find gainful employment, build their self-esteem back and continue to engage in purposeful activity once again…all while beating the stigma attached to the label given to them. Alcohol and substance use is not something that has to be accepted by the person struggling, there is a way out… we will help.” - Joe Bieniewicz, Director Horizons Counseling & Education Center
The objective and the collective plans, led by both Supervisor Schaffer and Supervisor Wehrheim, are to encourage both the public and private sectors to use this model of giving second chances to those who have battled and have been successful in their efforts to live a clean and sober life. By doing so as a community, society can also begin to remove the stigma which has plagued addiction recovery for far too long. Supervisor Schaffer and Supervisor Wehrheim vowed to remain committed to calling for action through providing education, awareness and new programming initiatives to be at the forefront of every level of government.
About the Gino Macchio Foundation:
The Gino Macchio Foundation began with a dream, when the life of Gino Macchio was tragically taken from his friends and family in a motorcycle accident in May of 2018. Gino had a vision to save the Great South Bay through Oyster repopulation, using smarter technology and efficient methods. Inspired by his life motto: I Got You, Gino’s family and friends have taken his dream a step further, empowering individuals in recovery by providing jobs with a purpose, career placement and encouraging local businesses to maintain recovery-friendly workplaces. For More Information, Visit: GinoMacchioFoundation.com