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Sea Cliff Resident Hosts Annual Holiday Packing Party to Benefit SCO’s Independence Inn Program for Runaway and Homeless Youth

December 19, 2022 / Independent Youth News

Phil Catapano, along with friends and family, have been packing duffel bags full of gifts and necessities for teens and young adults for over 30 years.

 GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK (December 16, 2022) — Nassau County resident Phil Catapano hosted his annual holiday packing party on Saturday, December 3, with attendees gathering in person for the first time since 2019. Catapano recruited friends and family to help him give back to the community and spread holiday cheer. The annual event has been a Catapano tradition for over 30 years, where attendees pack duffel bags full of presents and everyday necessities for teens and young adults in SCO Family of Services’ Independence Inn transitional living programs.

Catapano’s house was turned into a warehouse and assembly line as guests packed 120 bags over the course of three hours to benefit young people who are homeless or have run away, including mothers with young children. Each gift bag included warm weather essentials, a blanket, toiletries, undergarments, a backpack and school supplies, ear buds, and a hand painted mug with the name of each recipient.

Catapano’s late wife, Kathy, first started this tradition along with some of her friends back when there was only one Independence Inn – there are now six. Catapano and dozens of friends continue this tradition each year to honor her memory.

SCO’s Independence Inn program provides shelter and support for homeless and runaway youth to help them become self-sufficient. The Inns are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day serving youth 16-20 years old. Several of the Independence Inns serve young woman and their children. The program helps residents acquire life skills needed for independent living; career skills that will sustain independent and productive lives; and education that will support career goals. The program helps young people successfully transition to adulthood.

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