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HFEE Community Honoree Rev. Kimberly Gaines-Gambino Revels in Huntington’s Unyielding Support

When Reverend Kimberly Gaines-Gambino, president of the Helping Hand Rescue Mission, first learned that the HFEE board selected her to be the Community Honoree for the 2023 HFEE Gala she was shocked.

A moment of uncertainty turned into a moment of inspiration: “I humbly and happily accept,” she told HFEE members. “I’d like to use this opportunity to shine a light on the wonderful community we serve and the many generous donors and volunteers who make it all possible!”

Located in the heart of Huntington Station, the Helping Hand Rescue Mission seeks to improve the spiritual and temporal conditions of the children and families of the greater Huntington community by providing excellent service to all who come through the doors, regardless of socio-economics, race or creed. The vision is simple: be a comforting resource for those in need of supplies and nourishment, both physical and spiritual.

The Mission, as it was originally named, was founded in 1965 by Rev. Gaines-Gambino’s parents, Reverend James Gaines and Reverend Rose Marie Gaines. After witnessing local poverty firsthand, they invested their life savings to build an organization to help others in need. In their eyes, if they could help even just one person, it was worth the investment. They worked hard and sacrificed a lot to build the Mission into what they had hoped would become a beacon in the community for many years to come.

Rev. Gaines-Gambino grew up working alongside her parents providing local families with food, clothing, household items, spiritual encouragement – and most importantly, dignity. While her parents have passed, she has carried on the legacy they left behind.

“The Mission was their heart and soul. I really miss them more than anyone will ever know, but I feel so close to them when I’m at the Mission,” Gambino said. “We are fulfilling my parents’ vision and continuing to be lighthouse in the community.”

Earlier in her career, Rev. Gaines-Gambino also served as pastor of Half Hollow Community Church in Dix Hills from 2011-2019. She resigned from that position in January of 2020 to devote more time to HHRM. Previously, she was ordained by the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches & Ministers International. A graduate of The School of Evangelism & Discipleship Training School (1989-University of The Nations, N.J. location), Rev. Gaines-Gambino also attended Valley Forge Christian College from 1984-86, where she studied Missions and Music. She is an accomplished pianist/vocalist and a published songwriter. She is continuing her studies in Pastoral Counseling through Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA.

She is a devoted wife to Andrew Gambino and loving mom and stepmom to five amazing children: Drew (30), Mattison (26), A.J. (25), Heather (23) and Gianna (15). She appreciates her family’s ongoing support, noting that she spends many long hours at the Mission. “They give me the room and ability to share my time with others. It’s not always easy, but they are always there when extra ‘helping hands’ are needed.”

Rev. Gaines-Gambino often partners with teachers in Huntington schools, running food and clothing drives and collecting donations for events like “Baby Blessings,” an initiative that provides vital baby supplies to local families in need. Over the years, hundreds of Huntington students have volunteered at HHRM through school initiatives, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and other organizations. The students collect food, distribute supplies, stuff backpacks for back-to-school and learn important lessons of giving to others.

Gaines-Gambino shared, “I grew up in Huntington and always felt like I had the best childhood and young adult life. There’s no place like Huntington Village, there’s no community park like Hecksher, and there are no people like Huntingtonians! I moved to Nashville for a few years in my young adult life and that was nice — but there’s truly no place like Huntington!”

We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Rev. Kimberly Gaines-Gambino!

If you are interested in learning more about Helping Hands Rescue Mission or would like to donate or volunteer, visit the website.