Christmas project boosts community spirits

By Brian Sweeney
The holidays are brighter this year thanks to the generosity of folks who volunteer at and contribute to Community Christmas Projects in Margaretville and Roxbury.

In Margaretville, a record number 160 families — including 287 adults and 207 children — received specially packed gift boxes when volunteers made deliveries on Saturday. The boxes include assorted canned and dry goods, breads, homemade cookies and gift certificates. For families with children, toys are provided for younger children and older children receive gift certificates.
Community members annually turn out to help deliver the gift boxes, with Margaretville Rotary Club members always lending considerable manpower to the efforts.

Lots of preparation
For nearly a week prior to the deliveries, a dedicated team of volunteers is hard at work organizing the donated goods and assembling the gift baskets. It’s a considerable task. This year’s team of organizers and assemblers included co-chairs Teresa Goodchild and Rebecca Miller, Barb and Rick Funck, Dave and Lorraine Truran, Marsha Geehrer and Jackie and Glen Reither.

Dollar General, Freshtown Marketplace, Flour Patch and Freihofer’s bakery also provide generous donations of goods to assist the project, Mrs. Goodchild noted.

In addition to the gift boxes, homemade breads were delivered to people who were recently bereaved and Margaretville Central School elementary children made cards that were mailed with gift certificates to area residents who live alone.

Barb Funck pointed out that, for the past two years, the organization hasn’t done any fund-raising to assist with the costs of running the program. Last year, she noted, many stores provided donations to the Community Christmas Project following the terrible losses resulting from flooding caused by Hurricane Irene.

She said the group would welcome contributions for next year’s program and that checks to the Margaretville Community Christmas Project may be sent to: P.O. Box 58, Margaretville, NY 12455.

Roxbury project
The 2012 holiday season has also been a busy one for the many volunteers who assist with the Roxbury Community Christmas Project.

Fifty families and 22 senior citizens received food boxes this year, according to Chairperson Bonnie Walker. In addition, all 24 residents of the Grand Gorge Senior Apartments receive fruit, cookies and certificates for free lunches at the Delaware Opportunities Meal Site. These items are delivered by local children and presented in hand-decorated gift bags.

The organization also makes contributions to the activity funds at Mountainside Residential Care Center in Margaretville and Kirkside Retirement Home in Roxbury.

She note that the food boxes included turkeys, potatoes, cheese and crackers, peanut butter and jelly, fruit, cookies, cereal, milk an other assorted items.

Mrs. Walker said Jim’s Great American in Prattsville supplies the food for the baskets and the fruit is provided by the Freshtown Marketplace in Margaretville.

“The food is paid for with generous donations from area businesses and community members,” she explained.

The food boxes are wrapped and made ready for delivery by Roxbury Central School students in the CROP program. Community members and culinary students at the Northern Catskills Occupational Center in Grand Gorge donate homemade cookies.

The Roxbury Community Christmas Project is a Toy Store. Mrs. Walker explained that once delivery volunteers have taken the food baskets, the Toy Store is set up and parents are invited to pick out gifts to wrap for putting under the tree on Christmas morning. Community members donate the toys, Dollar General in Margaretville and Toys for Tots.

Mrs. Walker said the Roxbury Community Christmas Project is supported by generous efforts of many community members, businesses and organizations that make the program possible.
Donation to the Community Christmas Project may be sent to: Bonnie Walker, 489 Al Pekrul Rd., Roxbury, NY 12474.