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November 29, 2012

Opportunities abound to help others this holiday season


“Our other programs that we have like our HEAP program, which helps assist with payment of home heating costs, it doesn’t apply directly to a holiday, but programs like HEAP and our WIC program provide assistance to families so they have more disposable income so they can really meet the needs during the holidays,” Planning and Research Director Megan Stanley said.

Stanley is encouraging people to check out their local food pantry if they need assistance putting food on their table.

“The kids, when they’re in school, get that free and reduced school lunch,” Stanley said. “When they are on break, the families have to pick up where they would usually get assistance through the schools with those programs. They’re grocery bills are a lot larger and food stamps don’t usually renew until the first of the month.”

Operation Christmas Child – Visit, select gifts from a list and donate money to cover the presents. Samaritan’s Purse will assemble a decorated shoebox, fill it with the gifts that were selected and allow the person who paid for the gifts to track the shoebox until it reaches a child in need overseas. That’s the virtual way to participate but Samaritan’s Purse also allows people to participate in a tangible way, too. 

Mary Beekman has been coordinating the program at United Methodist Church every since she moved to Cooperstown in 2004. The congregation at UMC fills pre-decorated shoeboxes that Beekman orders from Samaritan’s Purse and then takes to her church. Members of the congregation pick up a box, fill it with gifts and return it to the church. In the middle of November, Beekman collects the boxes and takes them to Main Street Baptist Church in Oneonta. Every year the congregation at the United Methodist Church donates about 50 to 60 boxes to Operation Christmas Child. 

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