Smithtown joins Babylon Town and the Gino Macchio Foundation to ‘put recovery to work’

A program to help those recovering from addiction just received a major boost from a second Long Island township.

On September 6, the Smithtown City Council unanimously approved $70,000 in ARPA funds for the Gino Macchio Foundation‘s’Put recovery to work‘, which helps recovering residents find work. Smithtown’s approval follows that of the City of Babylon, which has long supported the foundation’s workplace recovery initiative.

“Over the past two years, social isolation, added stress and reduced access to drug treatment have led to a significant increase in drug abuse and overdoses during the coronavirus pandemic,” said the supervisor of Smithtown, Ed Wehrheim. “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 of eliminating both the stigma that 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 the local level.

On September 8, when the City of Smithtown presented its check to Gino Macchio’s family and other foundation representatives, the City of Babylon itself presented a check for $49,500.

“When this program really takes off, the lives that will be saved thanks to Gino, and this organization will be great,” said Babylon Town supervisor Rick Schaffer.

Gino Macchio Foundation Placement Center

The two supervisors said they hope their workplace recovery efforts will inspire the public and private sectors to offer a second chance to those yearning for sobriety. Through this initiative, elected officials and the foundation aim to remove the stigma surrounding recovery from drug addiction.

This work has already started at Babylon Beacon Family Wellness Center, through which the Gino Macchio Foundation matched recovering residents with jobs at oyster farms in the Great Southern Bay. Gino Macchio himself dedicated himself to oyster farming and restocking in the Great Southern Bay before dying in a motorcycle accident in 2018.

When the Gino Macchio Foundation honored Schaffer at last year’s Put Recovery To Work gala for his support, he unveiled his city’s plans for a second Beacon Family Wellness Center planned for Amityville.

“It’s going to be built where the Sayonara Motel once stood,” Schaffer said. “It burned down and we acquired the property.

“We’re going to build something that’s going to create lives instead of destroy lives there,” he continued. “When completed, the second floor will be the ‘Gino Macchio Foundation Placement Center’.”

Top photo: Courtesy of the Town of Smithtown. Left to right: Delores Bocklet, EAP Coordinator for City of Babylon, Sal LaFemina, Director of Beacon Family Wellness Center, City of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer, Smithtown Councilman Lisa Inzerillo, City Clerk Vincent Puleo , Smithtown City Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, The Gino Macchio Foundation: Steve Macchio, Debbie Macchio, Ken Daly and Marguerite Daly, Smithtown City Councilor Tom Lohmann, Joe Bieniewicz, Director Horizons Counseling & Education Center.

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