Altruistic teen’s mission: to help homeless

By James Bodian for

Last year, as the coronavirus spread and people hunkered down in their homes, North Shore first responders leaped into action, figuring out how to provide needed health care and emergency assistance while continuing to assure the uninterrupted flow of basic community services to the region’s towns and villages.

Then there was James Bodian, of Oyster Bay. At age 15, the Portledge School sophomore devised an initiative of his own to help those in need.;dc_ver=73.215;dc_eid=40004001,44728099;sz=300×250;u_sd=2;dc_adk=3653607184;ord=fuoymj;uach=%5B%22macOS%22%2C%2210_15_7%22%2C%22arm%22%2C%22%22%2C%2290.0.4430.212%22%2C%5B%5D%5D;dc_rfl=0,$0;xdt=0;crlt=2xPmKQBYI’;sttr=130;prcl=s

“Immediately I wanted to do something, and I thought of homeless people living on the streets,” said Bodian, who’s now 16. “They couldn’t quarantine. I could imagine myself in their shoes. I figured maybe I could make sanitation kits for them, but didn’t know how to go about distributing them. So I contacted Josh Lafazan, a local county legislator, and asked if he knew a place I could donate them.”

Lafazan, recommended Mommas House, a nonprofit in Glen Cove that provides shelter and support services for young homeless mothers and their babies.

Bodian got to work. He gathered what he would need for 100 kits with the help of his father, Dr. Adam Bodian, spending roughly 20 minutes a day after school on the task.

“I made up a little bag containing a mask, a bar of soap, hand cream, hand sanitizer, and put them all in a big box or a crate, and basically brought them to the front door of Mommas House and dropped them off,” he said. “At that moment I felt so good, seeing the look on the faces of the people in charge there. You could tell how appreciative they were.”

Patricia Shea, the director of Mommas house, who was at the door when Bodian showed up with his crate full of sanitation kits, said she was grateful. “It was a time we couldn’t get these items,” she said. “Things were so uncertain what exactly needed to be done, and we couldn’t get basic supply needs, so it was great that James stepped forward. Sure, we have people leave things at the front door — a church, a school, a scouting group — but it’s exceptional to have an individual come forward like that. To feel that calling and do something about it is unusual.”

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