Students provide 'Fruit for the Flooded'

Grand Gorge — The holidays are usually a time of joy and celebration. For many of the citizens of the school districts served by the Northern Catskills Occupational Center in Grand Gorge, that is not the case this holiday season.

September’s horrendous flooding devastated the communities of Blenheim, Prattsville, Windham, Ashland, Margaretville and Jewett.

Though the flooding may have destroyed property and possessions, the students of the equipment operation and repair class, with support from health occupation students and student leadership, are not going to let it destroy the spirit of the holidays.

The classes of the occupational center have held an annual fruit sale through the Florida Fruit Association for the past 30 plus years. Craig Tucker, teacher of the equipment operation and repair class, and Ray Buel, a licensed teaching assistant, collaborated with Leo George of the Florida Fruit Association to donate boxes of fruit to the flood-affected areas’ food banks for distribution in holiday fruit baskets. The food banks of Blenheim, Prattsville, Windham, Ashland, Margaretville, and Jewett will each receive four boxes of fruit (two navel oranges and two tangerines) valued at approximately $500.

Ray Buel said, “Pastor Charlie Gockel of the Huntersfield Christian Training Center has played an important role in orchestrating the donation and that Charlie Gockel has been instrumental in helping make contacts and arrangements between us (equipment operation and repair) and the food banks.”

The equipment operation and repair students will be distributing the donated fruit to the food banks’ representatives at NCOC on December 15 at 10 a.m.