History of the Hope Line

History of the Hope Line

On March 25, 1990, the Happy Land Social Club fire killed 87 people who were trapped in an unlicensed social club in the Bronx.  The tragedy took place across the street from St. Thomas Aquinas Church where Bishop Garmendia served as pastor and Vicar of the South Bronx.

A prayer service was held by John Cardinal O’Connor and Bishop Francisco Garmendia on March 26, 1990 to honor the lives of those who lost their lives.

From this tragedy, the Hope Line began in the basement of St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Hope Line was established in March 1990 by Bishop Francisco Garmendia, and James P. McLaughlin, President of United Parcel Service. It started with a bilingual telephone counseling and referral service. Since 1990, the organization has grown into a full-service community service organization currently providing ESL classes, immigration support, and a food pantry.

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