By Assemblyman Will Barclay
Americans are known for their generosity. According to the National Philanthropic Trust foundation, Americans gave $358.38 billion in 2014 to charities, up 7.1% from 2013.
While businesses, corporations and foundations are responsible for much of these donated dollars, the largest source of charitable donations came from individuals.
Giving people can be found all around us, and especially during the holidays when many organizations pair their campaigns to raise awareness about the needs around us with the holiday season.
Many rise to the call for help throughout our region and band together to make sure those around us have a happy holiday season.
A perfect example of this is the Christmas Bureau. Every year, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County partners with The Salvation Army, community groups and thousands of volunteers to ensure that eligible low-income families receive a book, a toy and a stocking stuffer for each child in their family.
In addition, each family receives a holiday food basket that contains a turkey and all the fixings for a holiday dinner plus extra food to help them feed their children during the school break.
Over the last 5 years, nearly 15,000 families and 37,000 children have been served on distribution day.
In addition, more than 1,000 volunteers donate their time each year to make distribution day a reality.
To get involved with this cause or to sign up to receive gifts, please call the Salvation Army at 315-434-1359.
In Oswego County, many businesses, schools, and individuals adopt families through Catholic Charities as well.
Families that qualify apply for assistance and are screened through a selection process.
Wish lists are shared and specific gifts, toys and clothes are purchased for children who qualify but the identities are kept confidential.
To adopt a family or to sign up to be adopted, please call Catholic Charities at 315-598-3980 ext. 253.
Holiday Angels, formerly known as Christmas Clearinghouse, is a collaborative effort of human service agencies, businesses, civic groups and individuals in Jefferson County who work together to ensure that children of low-income families have gifts for Christmas.
Families in need may apply at various locations.
To find a location center to apply nearby, call 315-782-4900 ext. 271.
Others who wish to adopt a family or a child can find a family to purchase gifts for by calling 315-782-4900 ext. 271 or by visiting the Salmon Run Mall.
Many other organizations throughout the region collect canned food for the food pantries or shoes, coats, mittens and hats. Many volunteers work hard to make sure the donated items are received by those who need them most or work a special dinner to make sure that others enjoy a meal in the company of others.
The ways people give are as diverse as the people in our communities but I’m proud to call this community my home when I realize how many people work together to see that others do not go without during this time of year.
Shoe Drive under way
This year my office is again assisting in our small way, as part of a local effort to collect gently used shoes and boots.
Last year, the collection drive resulted in 7,000 pairs of shoes and boots that were donated to the Rescue Mission in Syracuse.
This year the shoes collected from Oswego County residents will help families in Oswego County.
If you or someone you know has a pair of shoes to donate, please bring them to my office or any of the following locations:
· Mallory Wesleyan Church at 5 Baum Road in Mallory.
· Caughdenoy United Methodist Church at the corner of county routes 12 and 37 in Caughdenoy.
· Victory Bible Church at the corner of Route 11 and Hungry Lane in Central Square.
· My office at 200 N. Second St. St., Fulton (Second floor, above the Department of Motor Vehicle Office).
· Fulton Savings Bank at 3069 East Ave in Central Square.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other state issue, please contact me.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.
You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.