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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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File photo - From the left, HC Smith Benefit Club members Don Morey, his wife, Joan, and Tom Flander, all of St. Johnsville, stand in the club kitchen surrounded by food items distributed during the annual Christmas giveaway.

Linda Kellett - Tina Leon, an employee of the Fort Plain branch of NBT Bank, displays a sign identifying the Christmas collection for servicemen and women that’s sponsored annually by members of Court Catherine Esther No. 1264, Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Standing with the collection, which is to be distributed to members of the military in Afghanistan in time for Christmas, is Jayson Austin, 4, of Fort Plain, who was present at the bank with his mother, Casandra Morrell, early this week.

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Celebrating a season of giving

Thursday, November 22, 2012 - Updated: 7:53 AM

By LINDA KELLETT

C-S-E News Staff

ST. JOHNSVILLE — As defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary, the word “generosity” relates to “the quality of being kind and generous.”

It’s a concept that D.H. Robbins’ Elementary School students have been learning about as part of their district’s character building program, which stems, in part from the state’s Dignity for All Students Act said Principal Christopher Fata early this week.

In order to make the abstract concrete, students and staff earlier this year collected non-perishable food items for “generosity boxes,” which were donated to the H.C. Smith Benefit Club. It’s one of three ongoing projects at the school aimed at helping others.

The donations by students, faculty and staff, individuals from the community, and western Montgomery County businesses and organizations help benefit the club’s annual Christmas giveaway program.

Club officer Michele Lull said 186 families — that is, 750 adults and children — from the western Montgomery County area were served last year, and “the need continues to grow.”

She said, “We generally collect [for it] all year long.”

Lull said the club has local donors, with certain people conducting functions to raise money for the holiday program. For example, Kim and Bob Snell coordinate Justin’s Memorial Ride and donate “a huge chunk to our Christmas giveaway fund,” she said.

The group also sends out letters soliciting contributions from area businesses in St. Johnsville, Nelliston, Fort Plain, Canajoharie and Palatine Bridge — because people in those communities are served by the club.

“We purchase cases and cases of canned goods and receive donations throughout the year,” she said.

In addition to food items, the club also accepts contributions of new and gently used toys and clothing.

For two whole days during the week before Christmas, the club opens its doors to needy families. This year, the giveaway will be held on Sunday, Dec. 16 and Monday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. “We wanted to be able to have people without vehicles or who work to be able to come on a Sunday,” Lull said.

Participants need only provide photo identification and proof of residency, she said, noting that those taking part in the program are provided with an empty bag in which to place new and gently-used children’s toys and clothing.

“We write the sex and age of a child on a ticket. When they’re done and come to the kitchen to get their food box, they also get a new toy from the Benefit Club. That’s what Kinney Drugs and Dollar General and money donated by the elementary school” is used to purchase, Lull said.

Anyone wishing to contribute clothing or toys can drop items off on the back porch at 538 Crum Creek Road, St. Johnsville.

Checks should be made payable to the H.C. Smith Benefit Club with “Christmas giveaway” written on the memo line of the check. Mail checks to P.O. Box 5, St. Johnsville 13452.

     

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