Bill Burke is one of the BEDS volunteers on the frontline of our COVID-19 response, helping to manage consolidated shelter operations.
A volunteer with BEDS since 1998, Bill tirelessly led a small group of volunteers to get our consolidated shelter site ready to serve both as an overnight emergency shelter and a day center so those staying at the site can shelter in place.
When asked to help with our COVID-19 response efforts, Bill didn't even think twice. Bill reached out to friends over social media, asking for help. Some were able to come to the consolidated shelter site and work on getting it ready. Others purchased needed supplies and dropped them off. Bill also took up a collection for monetary donations to help BEDS in its crisis response. He is pictured above with Javier Chavarin, a plumber who donated his time to come to the rescue!
Bill, who lives in Westchester, said he wanted to help make the shelter in place experience as comfortable as possible for the BEDS clients staying at the consolidated shelter site. He said he appreciates the fact that BEDS not only helps those who are homeless but works to prevent homelessness too.
"I'm very dedicated to the BEDS mission to helping those people who don't have all the support that we do," he said. "We're there for them and we get them back on their feet."
Bill encourages other BEDS volunteers to help as best they can during this time. While volunteer opportunities at the consolidated shelter site are limited, Bill said there are plenty of other ways for people to help. For example, volunteers can call BEDS to see what is needed most. He held a shelter drive on his front porch for neighbors to drop off contributions. Monetary donations also help BEDS in its response to COVID-19.
"These people are people. Regular people like me and you who ran into hard times and didn't have the ability to cope or deal with them," Bill said. "If we can be there for them, that's fantastic."
For Bill, volunteering is a rewarding experience. And, he is always willing to help during a shelter shift.
"I can make a mean breakfast," he said.