To the Editor:
We wish to thank the members of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who hosted the St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Basket program for the fifth year. They offer a space for storage of boxes, sorting and packing of food and distribution. They also help set up transportation, sort food, pack boxes and donate most of the potatoes that go into the boxes (thank you John Chapman). Special thanks also to Jeff Francom and Lee Akin.
St. Mary’s Church also sponsored the Thanksgiving program. Pastor Aucoin and Peter Mueller have been very helpful. We work closely with Patty McGinnis, secretary, and Mike Norman, maintenance, who is there when we need him. Patty keeps the wheels turning, receiving registration calls and keeping us organized and up to date. The parishioners are generous with their contributions. Several help with preparations for distribution day and help on the last day. A few even made up a box or two with everything needed for the Thanksgiving meal. Thank you, everyone.
The first order of business was to get the box collection underway because it takes a while to collect enough correctly sized boxes for differently sized families. The women custodians at Potsdam College saved some boxes for the program. Laurie Russell, Christine Guyette, Brittany Lindsey and Michelle Conant collected boxes of all sizes for two months. Thank you for collecting the boxes and carrying them out to my truck. Thanks also to Carol Fries for assisting again . We also want to thank Lehman Hall for supplying boxes.
The majority of the food was collected by the youth of Potsdam. The AAK Interact Club, supervised by Emily Brouwer, collected donations at Walmart. Carla Ingram and her Kiwanis Kids and Key Club held several food drives at IGA and Save-A-Lot. The drives provided a lot of food and monetary contributions. The Student Council of Potsdam high school made a generous donation to the program. Bill and Joanne Swift’s Boy Scout Troop # 77 of Potsdam bagged potatoes for us again this year. The St. Mary’s Church Youth Group, led by Kathy Burns, transported food from St. Mary’s Church to the Mormon Church and then sorted all the food and pack 107 boxes. Thank you to all the students who participated in one-way or another. Thank you Potsdam for the food you contributed.
The Knights of Columbus, the Elks and the Lions gave us money to offset the price of the turkeys. Besides making a large donation, the Lions help sort and pack the good and then help deliver the boxes on distribution day.
We had a large turnout on the evening we moved the food from St. Mary’s Church to the Mormon Church and sorted and packed the boxes. Thank you to everyone.
On distribution day we have volunteers for delivery, people who work the floor, find and carry boxes out to cars, who work the welcoming table, make sure everyone gets checked in and gets the right box. Thank you to Bob Stark, Jack Maroney, Peter Mueller, Mike Norman, Marie Bullard, Shirley Christman, Kathy Olsen, Gloria Sullivan, George Trejos, Reeves Adair, Jim Chase and Mary Enslow. Also thank you to Rich Burns of the Lions who recruited members to help with delivery. Thank you also to my family; my daughter Heather did all the computer work (spreadsheets and labels for boxes). We are also grateful for the time that Rose Preston but into helping behind the scenes, especially with setting up pick-ups or deliveries by phone.
It would have been hard to prepare and distribute the makings of a feast to over 100 families without the support of so many. Thank you all for sharing your time and resources.
Betty Rowe and Pat Reichhart,
Co-Directors of St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Basket Program