FULTON, NY – When it comes to celebrating the holiday season, enjoying a Christmas dinner with friends is as anticipated as presents under the Christmas tree.
Unfortunately for many of Oswego County Opportunities’ consumers, the thought of actually having a festive Christmas dinner may not be a possibility.
However, thanks to Oswego County Federal Credit Union that thought became a reality when OCO hosted its annual Residential Consumer Dinner.
With the many human services programs OCO offers no one is more aware of the needs that exist in our county than the agency’s staff and volunteers.
“We wanted to do something really special for these consumers,” said Leah Hilts, supervised residence supervisor with OCO’s Residential Services / Transitional Living program. “Our residential consumers are often amongst the population that is often forgotten at Christmas time. They may be in recovery from substance abuse, experiencing mental illness or are homeless and trying to find their way in the world. Many do not have family or are suffering monumental hardships that most of us cannot imagine.”
Held at Prince of Peace Church in Fulton OCO staff and OCFCU volunteers transform the church’s fellowship hall into a Christmas themed dining room; tables are set with cloth linens and napkins, dinnerware, glasses and finished off with holiday centerpieces.
“We pull out all the stops,” Hilts said. “They are our guests for the evening and we do everything in our power to make them feel welcome and valued. Seeing the expressions on their faces is what makes all the work worthwhile!”
Oswego County Federal Credit Union provided funding for the meal as well as for the party activities that followed.
“Oswego County Federal Credit Union believes very strongly in supporting the communities we serve,” said Chief Executive Officer Bill Carhart. “Partnering with OCO to provide community members a brighter holiday season was an easy decision to make.”
In addition to the funding, Oswego County Federal Credit Union employees volunteered to help with the dinner.
“We were thrilled to say the least,” said Hilts. “More than twenty staff members from Oswego County Federal Credit Union graciously volunteered their time and helped with everything from food prep, set-up and serving dinners to leading the after dinner activities and cleaning-up. We greatly appreciate the support we received from Oswego County Federal Credit Union and its employees. They helped us brighten the spirit of our residential consumers and made this year’s Consumer Dinner one they are sure to remember.”