Letter from the editor

Tis the season of giving, and, appropriately, our December issue focuses on giving back. You needn’t look too far to find a worthy recipient for your time and financial donations. Central New York has a wealth of deserving organizations doing good, and they’re all in need of your support. We’ve written about many of them in the pages of this magazine, but I’d like to share three of my favorites that we haven’t discussed before with you here in hopes of getting them some attention this holiday season.

 

Blessings in a Backpack Liverpool Chapter 1854

Info: 210 Hazel St., Liverpool, New York 13088; blessingsinabackpackliverpoolny.org

Donations accepted? Yes

Volunteers needed? Yes

The Liverpool community has teamed up with Blessings in a Backpack, a national nonprofit program that works with local organizations to provide bags of food to elementary school kids in need. Each bag contains two breakfast item, two lunch items and two snacks. All are non-perishable and child-friendly and represent three of the four food groups. Sometimes these meals are the only food they’ll have from the time they leave school Friday afternoon until they return Monday morning. Because the need is so great in the city of Syracuse, the Liverpool chapter is working to feed kids at Seymour Dual Language Academy, where more than 600 students in kindergarten through fifth grade need food over the weekend. The organization began with 50 kids in September of 2017. Thanks to the generosity of the community — including grants from Wegmans and Walmart and donations from parishioners at St. Paul’s Lutheran, Liverpool First Presbyterian, Liverpool First United Methodist and St. Matthew’s Episcopal churches — with the start of the 2018 school year, they’re now up to 200. For $100, you can feed a child for 38 weekends a year. Your sponsorship provides kids with food to get through the weekend, but it’s more than just a couple of meals — that bag of food is a sign that someone cares about them.

 

Friends of the CanTeen

Info: P.O. Box 1521, Cicero, New York 13039; canteencny.com

Donations accepted? Yes

Volunteers needed? Yes

Okay, so this is cheating, since I wrote about CanTeen Executive Director Toni Brauchle in May, but YOU GUYS. This is such an amazing place, and I wish every school had a program like this. The Friends of the CanTeen are the fundraising arm of the teen center next to Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The board oversees the day-to-day operations of the youth center, which serves kids in eighth through 12th grade. There, teens can play games, do homework, watch movies, make food (which the center provides) or socialize. The CanTeen sees kids from all walks of life, every clique and all backgrounds. Regardless of any stereotypes and prejudgement, the CanTeen provides a welcoming environment for everyone, whether it’s kids that come every day or someone just stopping in for the day. The Friends group raises approximately $40,000 a year, supplemented by other funding streams, to fund field trips and events as well as provide food, internet and other amenities while paying the bills.

 

Operation Northern Comfort

Info: 800 Second St., Liverpool, New York 13088; operationnc.org

Donations accepted? Yes

Volunteers needed? Yes

Operation Northern Comfort is an offshoot of Operation Southern Comfort (also a great organization), which formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. Operation Northern Comfort, like its southern counterpart, serves the community by offering labor, monetary donations and other forms of support when needed. ONC takes on handyman projects in Central New York, from delivering furniture or painting a room to retrofitting a house for an amputee coming home for the first time since his accident. No job is too small. The nonprofit has no paid staff. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome.

 

Remember, these are just a few of the many deserving nonprofits in Central New York, and the introductions offered barely scratch the surface of the services they offer. Check out the websites of these organizations for more information.

Got your own favorites? Feel free to share on our Facebook page!

 

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