St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Basket Program grateful
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 11:42 am

To the Editor:

Once again this year, our community has come together with generous donations to make Thanksgiving happier for many families in our area. Our local stores, service groups from the community and schools, and you, the people of the Potsdam area, made it possible to fill and distribute 110 boxes of food. Thank you to all who participated, including the following groups and individuals.

This is the third year we have been based at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They not only welcome us to use their building, they also participate in the program, donating and working along side our volunteers. We are most appreciative of their help and the new alliance and friends we’ve made the past three years we’ve been there.

Our home parish and our parishioners at St. Mary’s give unending support and generous contributions. From the St. Mary’s Church rectory, Monsignor Robert AuCoin, Patty McGinnis, Mike Norman, Peter Mueller and Craig Martin, gave us unflagging help, cooperation and support.

We are very thankful for our partnership with the Lions Club. They help with many aspects of the program, including packing baskets, delivering them and providing a generous donation which helps us purchase the turkeys. We also receive monetary contributions from the Elks Club and the Knights of Columbus.

It was students who collected most of our non-perishable food. The youth sponsored by the Kiwanis—elementary K-Kids, middle school Builders, Key Club at the high school level and college-aged Circle K, led by Carla Ingram, spent several days collecting food at the Potsdam Big M. Besides the Big M collections, the Interact Club, sponsored by the Rotary Club, from AAK Middle School, led by Emily Brouwer, held a food drive for two days at Walmart. The student council, advised by Jim Allott, from Potsdam High School, bought the bread and margarine, a huge contribution to help us out. Finally, though not solicited, students at AAK brought food into school for us and Danielle Wilson and her French students collected food in her classroom at the high school. Also, we were assisted by Joanne Foote, school nurse, who helped us to identify families who could use some help with the holiday meal.

A Potsdam College service sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma, sent girls to help with the packing of boxes. Boy Scout Troop 77, led by Bill and Joanne Swift, spent a weekend morning bagging potatoes and sorting our non-perishable foods.

A windfall donation came from 23 employees of Brookfield Power who donated the turkeys they were given at work to the Thanksgiving Program. Kathy Casey directed the turkeys in our direction. This donation came, thankfully, at a time when our family numbers were growing and our individual turkey donations were down, so we are very grateful to these employees for their donation.

Also, generous donations were received from Walmart and Meadowbrook Dairy. Our local merchants, in particular Big M, Price Chopper, Walgreens and Save-A-Lot, gave us their best price, enabling us to shop locally.

Other individuals who helped us were Carol Fries and Bill Mein, members of the social action committee at St. Mary’s Church and Heather Dugan who has supervised the packing operation and distribution for 12 or 13 years. We would also like to thank all the people who helped with the execution of the program including the sorters, the packers, the runners, the gracious women on the reception table and the people who delivered.

Once again, we appreciate the effort and dedication of all those involved in enabling so many Potsdam area families to enjoy their Thanksgiving meal. Please accept our sincere thanks.

Betty Rowe, coordinator

Pat Reichhart, co-coordinator

St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Basket Distribution Program

Potsdam