Artists Off Main at the Smithy, the Cooperstown Lions Club and the Cooperstown Angel Network are teaming up this holiday season to provide a family with a very special Christmas gift.
When Artists Off Main opened the doors of its holiday market at the Smithy Center for the Arts on Nov. 29, a live Christmas tree was one of the items on display. Unlike the other items in the shop, however, this tree, donated by the Cooperstown Lions Club, is not for sale. Instead, it will reside in the holiday market until the week before Christmas, where it will be delivered to an anonymous family in need selected by the Cooperstown Angel Network.
Artists off Main at the Smithy owner Karen Katz is asking customers to donate ornaments for the tree. They will also have the opportunity to give monetary donations to the Cooperstown Angel Network.
"It happened very naturally," said Katz, who said that after being contacted about the idea the Lions Club had agreed to donate the tree and the lights and the Angel Network had agreed to take the donation. "That's the sense of community that we have here."
She also said that the idea to donate a tree was the brainchild of Rich McCaffery, a member of the Lions Club and a personal friend.
"We (The Lions Club) always look to do a benefit for the community," said McCaffery, when asked about how the idea for the donation came to be.
The Angel Network is a community organization that provides assistance to needy Cooperstown children and their families. Counselors at the school give requests to the network, after they have either assessed a need or been asked for help by the families themselves. Donations are then given anonymously to the families in need, who must meet certain financial criteria. These donations range from food items and clothing, to assistance in paying for college applications and helping with heating bills.