Helen Green first realized she had a passion for helping others when she was ordered by her mother to visit the elderly folks in her Brooklyn neighborhood as punishment for getting in trouble at school at just 12 years old.
Now 73, that chore has become her life mission. It’s what has led her to split her time between feeding five local stray cats, routinely visiting the local nursing homes and Phelps Memorial Hospital, and even making sure to throw away the garbage discarded around her Ossining apartment building.
“I’m a very clean person and I’m not going to live in a dirty neighborhood,” she said simply.
It is Green's belief that the elder folks in the community are "precious" and should be valued, so she stops by Cedar Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Ossining once a month and delivers treats around every holiday from Peekskill’s Dollar Tree.
“I’m not a rich woman, but I always learned from my mother to share whatever you have with someone else,” she added.
Green also cares deeply about the welfare of animals as much as humans. This was particularly evident when I was invited into the home of her and her brassy black cat, Jennifer Green. She told me that Jennifer is the fifth cat she’s adopted from the SPCA in Briarcliff, and will probably not be the last since her owner believes all animals should be properly cared for. In fact, Green's plans for the day I stopped by included a call to Westchester’s Animal Control department to raise concern about a neighbor’s dog that was chained to a backyard tree all day in the blistering heat.
This Ossining resident also plans to donate a sizeable portion of her life savings to the SPCA of Briarcliff to ensure her beloved canines and felines can continue to live happily.
Of her community service she says, "I want to help everybody that needs it--I've never changed and I never will."
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