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October 16, 2013

'My Neighbor's Closet' open Saturday


According to Hage, her friend initiated a discussion with the teacher, expressing her concern. “The decision was made amongst a group of us, as parents, that there should be some sort of program, where school affiliates could spot the specific needs of certain students and get the requests out to us”, Hage said. 

Their thought was, a pair of sneakers needed, or winter coat, or toiletries even, could be supplied from within the community of Cooperstown.

Collectively, the school staff and the original organizers decided that paramount to this undertaking was the confidentiality of the children involved. From there, a system evolved. Families aware of the organization could contact the appropriate school counselors/teachers with their specific needs. In addition, teachers in the classroom could assess a need, (no warm coat, when cold weather arrives, for example ). Then, according to Hage, an appointed school staff member could contact the Network’s community liason with the child’s gender, size, and need. No names are used. 

Once this sequence of operation was established, Hage immediately sent out an email to all the parents included in the Cooperstown School District. Upon supplying an email address they could voluntarily be on the list. The Network started with an email list of around 30 participants and has grown to over 400. The recipients have increased from 15 families to 45 plus and, in this economic environment of lay-offs and shrinking income, they continue to grow.

With the system they coordinated all set up, the last part was simple. Once the Angel Network liason was contacted with a request, she, (Hage, initially, now, McGoldrick) could post it to their on-line community. Volunteers could proceed to donate the necessary item. If the Angel Network received more than one, they stored it, until a similar request came along. Periodically, the Angel Network takes surplus to Head Start programs in need, and other charitable organizations. Lately, they try to store supplies for unseen tragedies, such as fires, loss of jobs, and deaths.

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