If you have made it out to Nassau Coliseum to see an Islanders game, you have more than likely heard the raucous chants coming from the upper section with the freshly painted wall graphic reading ‘329’.
Those are the members of the Blue and Orange Army. the team’s unofficial seventh man at every home game.
With original songs, this collection of men and women do their best to cheer on their heroes in blue and orange as well as taking some calculated but always clean pot shots at the opposition of the evening.
It truly is amazing the energy they bring to the building and I can vouch for the fact that as high up in the press box, they make themselves very noticeable every single night.
The dedication runs so deep with this crew that they slept overnight in the Marriot hotel parking lot the evening of the Islanders opener at New Jersey to get an early start of the festivities of the home opener the very next day against Columbus.
With all the support they have given to the organization over the years and more recently, to us personally at Eyes On Isles, we wanted to get the word out about a very special thing they are doing for the most needy as we enter the 2013 holiday season.
Thanksgiving is described by Wikipedia as the following:
“Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.”
Now let’s combine the significance of Thanksgiving with a word on homelessness, an extremely troubling and rampant problem in the United States especially. From the National Coalition for the homeless comes the below:
As a result of methodological and financial constraints, most studies are limited to counting people who are in shelters or on the streets. While this approach may yield useful information about the number of people who use services such as shelters and soup kitchens, or who are easy to locate on the street, it can result in underestimates of homelessness. Many people who lack a stable, permanent residence have few shelter options because shelters are filled to capacity or are unavailable. A recent study conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that 12 of the 23 cities surveyed had to turn people in need of shelter away due to a lack of capacity. Ten of the cities found an increase in households with children seeking access to shelters and transitional housing while six cities cited increases in the numbers of individuals seeking these resources (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2007).
On an average night in the 23 cities surveyed, 94 percent of people living on the streets were single adults, 4 percent were part of families and 2 percent were unaccompanied minors. Seventy percent of those in emergency shelters were single adults, 29 percent were part of families and 1 percent were unaccompanied minors. Of those in transitional housing, 43 percent were single adults, 56 percent were part of families, and 1 percent were unaccompanied minors. Those who occupied permanent supportive housing were 60 percent single adults, 39.5 percent were part of families, and .5 percent were unaccompanied minors (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008).
The average length of stay in emergency shelter was 69 days for single men, 51 days for single women, and 70 days for families. For those staying in transitional housing, the average stay for single men was 175 days, 196 days for single women, and 223 days for families. Permanent supportive housing had the longest average stay, with 556 days for single men, 571 days for single women, and 604 days for women (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008). The homeless population is estimated to be 42 percent African-American, 39 percent white, 13 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Native American and 2 percent Asian, although it varies widely depending on the part of the country. An average of 26 percent of homeless people are considered mentally ill, while 13 percent of homeless individuals were physically disabled (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008). Nineteen percent of single homeless people are victims of domestic violence while 13 percent are veterans and 2 percent are HIV positive. Nineteen percent of homeless people are employed (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008).
In addition, a study of homelessness in 50 cities found that in virtually every city, the city’s official estimated number of homeless people greatly exceeded the number of emergency shelter and transitional housing spaces (National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 2004). Moreover, there are few or no shelters in rural areas of the United States, despite significant levels of homelessness (Brown, 2002). The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing estimates that about nine percent of the nation’s homeless are in rural areas (The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing). As a result of these and other factors, many people in homeless situations are forced to live with relatives and friends in crowded, temporary arrangements. People in these situations are experiencing homelessness, but are less likely to be counted. For instance, of the children and youth identified as homeless by the Department of Education in FY2000, only 35% lived in shelters; 34% lived doubled-up with family or friends, and 23% lived in motels and other locations. Yet, these children and youth may not immediately be recognized as homeless and are sometimes denied access to shelter or the protections and services of the McKinney-Vento Act (U.S. Department of Education).
We owe it to our fellow brothers and sisters to help out and sometimes do not realize how fortunate we really are. We sit at our tables with our families and stuff ourselves to the max with delicious homemade delicacies while there are so many out there feasting on a piece of bread they found in the trash.
The BOA group decided to take action among themselves and do something about it at the Nassau Coliseum. Co-founder Tom Ballantyne outlines their plan below:
Saturday November 16th, the Blue and Orange Army will be holding the 1st annual BOA Thanksgiving Food Drive prior to the home game vs Detroit. We will be set up from 1pm until 6pm by our usual tailgate spot. Donations can include items such as: canned goods, pastas, Cereals,stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, etc. All items will be donated to Trinity Church Soup Kitchen in Coram. Tell your family, tell your friends and lets all chip in and donate for those in need.
Their tailgate location is right outside the Marriot Hotel gate facing the Coliseum box office entry. This is a very special plea from the staff of Eyes On Isles as well as BOA. Please get out and show your support for this very worthy cause. Anything you can give is helpful and will bring a little smile and a warm full stomach to someone very much in need this holiday season.
After all, this is the season of giving. Please be as generous as you can.
If you need more information, please contact us at [email protected] and we will get back to you ASAP.