Tom O’Leary is the Founding Executive Director of the Samaritan Homeless Interim Program (SHIP). He has been an active advocate for the homeless, persons in recovery from addictions and persons with HIV/AIDS at the local, state and national levels, since 1978. He brings to the field the first-hand practical wisdom that he has gained through both personal and professional experience.
Tom and his family became homeless in 1981. They lived in the back of their 1970 Chevy pick-up truck. Tom and his wife both lost their jobs because of federal budget cuts in funding to the programs where they worked. He was an Alcoholism Counselor and she was a provider of childcare services. It would be six months before they were able to save enough money to rent a home in Somerset County . The struggle to regain self-sufficiency and the experiences that accompanied it proved to be valuable tools in his striving to assist others who experienced the same torments. Tom and his wife were divorced in 1992.
Executive Director, Tom O’Leary
In 1983, Tom started working as a Youth Counselor in Somerset County while continuing his efforts to become a Certified Alcoholism Counselor (CAC). He completed this in 1984 and has since upgraded his certifications to include International Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (ICADC), Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor (CCDC), Master Addictions Counselor Endorsement (MACe) and Certified Criminal Justice Specialist (CCJS).
Tom joined a group of advocates who were attempting to open a shelter for homeless men in Paterson , New Jersey . He became the founding Executive Director of Saint Paul ’s Ecumenical Shelter for inner-city men. Within a few months he worked with others to create Eva’s Shelter, the first homeless shelter for women in Paterson and served as founding Executive Director. At that period of time his programs operated 10% of all homeless beds available in the state.
He is a founder of SHIP, and has served as its Executive Director since 1984. He develops, organizes and implements SHIP’s programs. He has freely shared his experience with other organizations seeking to establish programs for the hungry and homeless in our region, state and nation. He volunteers and serves on numerous committees and sub-committees throughout the county and state in his efforts to secure better and more humane services for the less fortunate among us.
SHIP’s Staff and Volunteers provide the support
Marion Goldberg: Marion is a resident of Somerset County . She is a graduate of Rutgers University , New Brunswick , NJ. Marion also works full time as a Public Health Representative at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School , in the Department of Medicine. The position entails conducting HIV/AIDS Prevention, Education, Counseling and Testing. Initially serving as a volunteer at SHIP’s office, she continues her volunteer activities at our Holiday Meals Programs and the annual HIV/AIDS Walkathon for the “Angel Fund.” She later served as a member of SHIP’s Board of Trustees. Marion is currently employed as a counselor at SHIP. She has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS, Mental Health and Chemical Addictions for the past twenty years.
SHIP’s Part-time Galley Director
Michael Brown: Michael is a graduate of Plainfield High School . He further expanded he education and completed 2 years of training at the Health Care Institute in Union County . Michael formerly served as our Mobile Soup Kitchen - Disaster Unit Operator.
SHIP’s Safe Harbor Support Person
Mobile Soup Kitchen Support Paid Staff (PT)
SOS - Street Outreach Services
SHIP’s Office Volunteers
SHIP's Galley Volunteer Crews (15 members+ each)
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat"
SHIP's Mobile Soup Kitchen - Disaster Unit Volunteers
Church of the Immaculate Conception
Kerrie Cummins & Jeannine Cavanaugh coordinators
Immaculata High School, Campus Ministry
Richard Grieshaber faculty advisor & Student Volunteers
Neshanic Reformed Church
Gail & Mitch Miles
Neshanic United Methodist Church
First Baptist Church of Somerville
Saint Bernard Roman Catholic Church,
Greg & Linda Breck, coordinators
ST. BERNARD SHIP VOLUNTEERS
DRIVERS and SERVERS
Ron & Mary Haikes
Mike & Marie Cinque
Lisa Cassell & Nick Cassell
Barbara Stewart and Garrett Stewart
Dominick & Joyce Coppola
John McHale & Jeff McHale
John & Bonnie Henry
Deb Volpe and Mike Volpe
Patrick & Viv Cline
Tom Cinque & Cathy Cinque
Independent MSK Crews
Nadine & Vera Palchanes
Joan Spagnola (not Pictured)
SHIP's SOS-Street Outreach Services Volunteers
Church of the Immaculate Conception
Kerrie Cummins & Jeannine Cavanaugh, Coordinators
SHIP's Holiday Meals Volunteers
Susan & Dean Ruth Kitchen Coordinators
Gina Maiorano Dining Room Coordinator
Michael Demshock & Family Supply Team Coordinators
Danial Anderson Beverage Coordinator
Annual Client Christmas Party Volunteer Crews
SHIP’s Mobile Soup Kitchen Support Person
Dennis Barbier is SHIP’s Mobile Soup Kitchen Support person.
Dennis is a 1969 graduate of Essex Catholic High School in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Newark State College in Union, New Jersey. Dennis served in the U.S. Marine Corps and trained in food preparation.
Dennis completed a 4 year plumber apprenticeship in 1977 and also worked in the construction field for 10 years. He was employed by AT&T for 20 years in facilities maintenance and by the Midland School in Branchburg as a job coach. Dennis is a former Habitat for Humanity and Care Alternatives hospice care volunteer.
Serving the community since 1984
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Safe Harbor - Port of Refuge
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At SHIP we create programs and services that increase the Somerset County and surrounding regions capacity to respond to the needs of the poor and working poor.
Since March 5, 1984 We have served over 100,000 people.
Community Service Projects
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