L/R: Jennifer Brisson, Cori Hernadez, Melanie Peterson, Michael Arruda, Tracey Kittredge, Janet Scheffler United Way, Nicole Giguere,
Santa’s Elves don’t just live at the North Pole, many live right here, in our hometowns.
“The holidays can be a stressful time for many local families that are just struggling to get by let alone adding the pressure this season can bring” noted Janet Scheffler, Executive Director of the United Way of Webster and Dudley.
Many quiet efforts and acts of kindness took place the last few weeks to ensure local children had gifts under their trees from Santa this Christmas. Holiday programs were coordinated by local volunteers from throughout our community. Chief Timothy Bent at the Webster Police Department coordinated their annual Toys for Tots, as did Chief Steven Wojnar at the Dudley Police Department for a second year, a Giving Tree was set up at Scared Heart Parish through the St. Vincent DePaul Society, where parishioners supplied gifts for more than 300 local children, Webster Dudley Food Share reached out with toys to families in need and the United Way helped connect elves to kids as well.
“We all worked together to make sure that families that reached out to any of us, were helped this Christmas Season. Heartfelt thanks go out to everyone in our community who made our success possible by donating gifts, shopping and wrapping” said Mrs. Scheffler.
For the past several years local companies have “adopted” children at Christmas through the United Way. “It all started with the generosity of the employee’s at Gentex Optics. They called me and asked if they could do a giving tree in their lobby with name tags for kids at the Boys and Girls Club, and a great partnership was born. Since then other community business associates have joined in” noted Mrs. Scheffler.
“Once again this year in keeping with the spirit of the holidays the employees at Gentex Optics sponsored a “Giving Tree” to benefit children from the Webster Dudley Boys and Girls Club as well as New Hope, a local agency working to end domestic violence here in our community. Both are United Way partner agencies. “This time of year inspires us to count our blessings. The Gentex Family is committed to helping those less fortunate in the community. We wish everyone all the best in the coming year” noted Lorraine Ostrokolowicz, SR Human Resources Consultant at Gentex. Francine Perry Director of Community Services for New Hope said “Generous donations help those in crisis have the opportunity to focus on their safety. These gifts will help our residential programs as well as countless community members. Every small item makes an enormous impact.”
It was a group effort at AAA Southern New England’s, Webster Branch according to Jennifer Brisson who said “Helping and serving is something we do every day here at AAA. Adopting a family just seems like the natural thing to do during the Christmas season.”
Staff at the Child Care Center at Commerce Insurance, MAPFRE/ USA decided to participate three years ago and enjoy it so much they adopted two children again this year.
Hometown Bank: L/R Sue Rheault, Deanna Mills and Jackie Germain.
The Staff at Hometown Bank has been participating for years as well. They decided it was more rewarding to adopt a family than to exchange “Office Grabs” or “Secret Santa’s”. The program there is coordinated by Deanna Mills, Jackie Germain and Sue Rheault who all acknowledge “it really is a group effort” and “We’re all happy to help”.
First Niagara Bank L/R: Sarah St.Pierre, Samantha Stetson Stephanie Antaya and Branch Manager Sue Arsenault.
On hand to help for a second year were the elves at First Niagara Bank’s Webster Branch. Branch Manager Sue Arsenault said they truly enjoyed being able to help a family from our community. It really was fun shopping for the children even though we don’t know them we know the smile we’ll bring them Christmas morning when they yell “look Santa came!”
Additionally a few Elves who wished to remain anonymous offered assistance noted Janet Scheffler, providing gifts for residents of the Bridge, a residential program for mentally challenged adults, also a United Way partner agency, and others… “ and we are so grateful they did I don’t think we could have helped as many families and organizations without them!”
Janet Scheffler wanted to assure readers that “absolutely no United Way funds are used for this project. Our United Way raises money in a community wide appeal that helps to fund fifteen 501C3 health and human service agencies that in turn provide direct services to the people of our communities. The Santa’s Elves program is about sharing our blessings and sharing the joy of the season with one another. Thanks again Santa’s Elves”.
- Monday, 02 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Region