Whiskey And Whiskers: Giving Back, A Hair At A Time

Photo by Maxwell Reide.
Photo by Maxwell Reide.
Photo by Maxwell Reide.

New Paltz newcomer, and cancer survivor Garvan McCloskey has always been a giver.

Back in Ireland, that meant raising more than $500,000 for Relay for Life in just one day, and taking a large part in the Catholic organization Saint Vincent de Paul working with needy families. Here in his new home of New Paltz, having only settled here a year ago, it means raising $10,000 for Family of New Paltz, an organization which provides services for disadvantaged families in the area.

“I’ve always been involved in charity work, always looking for ways to get involved in the community,” McCloskey, who works as the manager of Shea O’Briens, said. “When I came to New Paltz, and I heard my customers talking about Family, and how well-perceived they are, I went and I was very impressed.”

The organization provides a food pantry, a free-clothes room and six shelters among other services to needy families. It also works to fight homelessness and assist families work their way out of hardship. Another reason McCloskey chose this organization is because the administration costs are low and the money goes directly to the people who need it.

“Most people live two or three paychecks away from needing to go to Family of New Paltz, the fact is it’s hard to be poor in America,” McCloskey said. “It’s not easy to be poor anywhere, but Ireland is one of the better places to be if you are, it gives more to the poor, so I thought I’d do a bit of good.”

With the support of the Rotary Club of New Paltz, of which he is a member, McCloskey will run in the Boston Marathon on April 21 and will give the donations he receives towards his goal of $10,000. In hopes of garnering additional donations, McCloskey isn’t shaving his beard until he reaches that number.

A meeting room located in back of the Family of New Paltz building — the “A.J. Babb” room, named in memory of a young man who died from a heroin overdose — that is used to house Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, as well as a place to train single mothers in computer skills as a way to get them into better paying jobs, has become the focal point of McCloskey’s charity effort.

The money McCloskey raises will go toward renovating it — new floors, new furniture, equipment and computers.  According to McCloskey, $8,000 would be enough to fix up the room, but his sights are set on $10,000, an ambition that is nearly in his reach; with the race about a month away, McCloskey has already raised $6,000.

“I’ve had people donate anything from one dollar to $2,000. One man wrote me a large check, and another told me that the dollar was all he had; it doesn’t matter, anything helps,” McCloskey said.

For more information, visit Familyofwoodstockinc.org.