Many make Thanksgiving basket program succeed in Potsdam
Friday, January 10, 2014 - 8:46 am

To the Editor:

Thanksgiving 2013 has come and gone. The St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Basket Program had a fruitful season as our generous donations provided for 108 families. Thank you to all who gave or had a hand in procuring food for the baskets.

There were several food drives at our local stores. The Interact Club from A.A. Kingston Middle School did very well with a drive at Walmart. The Kiwanis junior groups from Lawrence Avenue Elementary and AAK held several food drives at the Potsdam IGA and Save-a-Lot. The Key Club at Potsdam High School also held an in-school food drive. Thank you to all who participated in these drives, to the stores that allowed them to solicit food at their stores, and also to the wonderful people who donated food or money to the program. Thank you, too, to Subway inside Walmart for providing hot chocolate to the students who worked in the cold at the food drive.

A new addition to our program this year was a “program” developed by Evan Hitchman, an assistant manger at Walgreens, to obtain milk for the baskets. He took an innovative approach and within just a few days, had secured enough milk for our 108 baskets and also for another local group that was giving almost 25 Thanksgiving baskets out. Thank you to Evan and Walgreens and to all the customers who bought in to the program.

I would especially like to thank the Mormon Church who once again hosted the Thanksgiving Program, and Jeremiah Curtis, who made it possible for us to get into the church whenever we needed to. A special thanks to Patty McGinnis for all the extra work she did at the rectory taking calls and setting up pickup times. Also, thank you to Faye Simmons who was my right-hand “man,” doing all the computer work, including elaborate spreadsheets, and for stepping up to help me coordinate the busy last weekend before distribution and distribution day. The Lions Club has proven to be an annual benefactor, to be counted on for a large donation toward the turkey cost and also for the sorting and packing task before they deliver those boxes to people who can’t get out to pick them up. Thank you for being caring contributors.

There are many other people and organizations to be thanked for their help this year: John Chapman, who donated all our potatoes; Laurie and the girls, cleaners in Satterlee Hall at Potsdam College, who collected a huge number of boxes for us; the Potsdam Elks Club; our local K of C; Boy Scout Troop 77 from Potsdam; and BOCES Seaway Tech Culinary Arts Class, which donated homemade applesauce and apple bread. Also, Bill and Joanne Swift, Carol Rossie-Fries, Rose Preston, Jeff Francom, Msgr. Robert Aucoin, Michael Normam, Larry Gauthier, Delray Davis and the Newman Club students who helped on distribution day, Carla Ingram, Tanya Sala, Emily Brouwer, the Helenbrook family, Marie Bullard, Mary Enslow, Bob Stark, Rich Burns, and Chris Sanchez.

There were many more people who helped in some way. Whether it was physically helping or donating food or money, we couldn’t have done it without you. Potsdam and the surrounding area works like one community when it comes to helping one another when there’s a need—thank you all for sharing your time and resources.

Pat Reichhart, Coordinator,

St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Basket Program