by Susan Cornell
The Bethsaida Community’s “mover and shaker,” Rose Sinagra, is to receive the Carol Croteau Humanitarian Award on April 25, a reflection of her spirited work to expand the organization’s women’s shelter, known as Patricia’s Place.
The award is named for Carol Croteau, who formed Bethsaida Community Inc., on Cliff Street in Norwich as a shelter and human services organization for abused and homeless women.
Rose said modestly, “I am very excited to get the award but don’t think I’ve done anything more than anyone else has done.”
That’s clearly not the case, however.
When Sinagra learned about Bethsaida’s newest housing program, the Patricia’s Place Program, she motivated others to help—her husband, children, the St. Matthias Choir and the St. Matthias Women’s Club.
She does whatever she can for Patricia’s Place. “When I first heard about it, I volunteered to completely furnish one of the bedrooms and I did get five other people to do the other five bedrooms.”
Bethsaida Community’s Executive Director Claire Silva stated, “Rose Sinagra is completely deserving of the Carol Croteau Humanitarian Award. Rose learned about Bethsaida and instantly became a mover and a shaker for our newest housing program – the Patricia’s Place Program, PPP.
“Rose rallied together women from the St. Matthias Church Prayer Shawl Ministry group, the Women’s Club and the Choir to decorate bedrooms, and stock the kitchen with new appliances and supplies. Rose and her husband decorated one of the PPP bedrooms and donated numerous items for the new residents. She also organized her children and their families to donate a beautiful kitchen table and chairs. Rose has been an inspiration to us all.”
Rose even convinced her seven children to donate money so she could purchase what was needed. She bought a kitchen table and eight chairs, a tablecloth and pads, as well as “a lot of things for the kitchen.” She added, “I did a lot of shopping at Macy’s!”
She asked her dentist to donate toothbrushes for the homeless. “I’ve also told all my kids when you go away, don’t throw away all the little things like shampoo and soap the hotel gives you. Bring them to me and I’ll get them to homeless people.“
Rose is a very involved volunteer at Saint Matthias Church in East Lyme; not only does she cook for several church suppers each year but is also one of the chairmen of the Prayer Shawl Ministry, which makes and distributes shawls to hospitals, convalescent homes, “and anyone who needs one—who maybe needs a little love, compassion and comfort,” she explains.
The Ladies Club of Saint Matthias backs this undertaking. “We buy yarn with the money they give us and then, with any of the donations we might get, we use that to buy yarn,” she said.
She has made three king-sized afghans which have been raffled off to buy yarn.
Rose was born and raised in New London and graduated from Williams Memorial Institute. She is active: While her children were in school, she was active as an elementary school room-mother, a religious education teacher, and volunteered in the school library. She also served as a Cub Scout Den Mother and as President of the East Lyme Band Parents Association. She served on the Board for the East Lyme Visiting Nurse Association, and was a founding member of the East Lyme Main Street Merchants Association. She is a grandmother to nine and a great-grandmother to two.