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Smithtown joins Babylon Town and Gino Macchio Foundation to ‘Put Recovery to Work’

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

On Sept. 6, the Smithtown Town Board unanimously approved to award $70,000 in ARPA funds to the Gino Macchio Foundation‘s ‘Put Recovery to Work‘ program, which helps locals in recovery find work. Smithtown’s endorsement follows that of the Town of Babylon, which has long supported the foundation’s workplace recovery initiative.

“Over these past two years, the social isolation, additional stress and reduced access for substance use treatments, has resulted in a significant increase in substance abuse and overdoses during the coronavirus pandemic,” Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim said. “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 in both removing the stigma which 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 a local level.”

On Sept. 8, when the Town of Smithtown presented its check to Gino Macchio’s family and other representatives from the foundation, the Town of Babylon presented a $49,500 check of its own.

“When this program really takes off, the lives that are going to be saved as a result of Gino, and this organization is going to be tremendous,” Babylon Town Supervisor Rick Schaffer said.

The Gino Macchio Foundation Job Placement Center

Both supervisors said they hope their workplace-based recovery efforts will influence public and private sectors to to provide second chances to those striving for sobriety. Through this initiative, the elected officials and the foundation aim to remove the stigmas surrounding addiction recovery.

This work has already begun at Babylon’s Beacon Family Wellness Center, through which the Gino Macchio Foundation paired residents in recovery with jobs on oyster farms in the Great South Bay. Gino Macchio himself was dedicated to oyster farming and re-population in the Great South 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 town’s plans for a second Beacon Family Wellness Center slated for Amityville.

“It’s going to be built where the Sayonara Motel formerly was,” Schaffer said. “It burnt down and we acquired the property.

“We’re going to build something that is going to create lives instead of destroying lives there,” he continued. “Upon completion, the second floor will be the ‘Gino Macchio Foundation Job Placement Center.'”

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