AuSABLE FORKS — After a spinal cord injury in 2010 left her mostly paralyzed, Michaela Bushey was amazed by the level of support offered by her community.
Now, two years later, that same neighborhood again surprised her with the support displayed for her charity food drive.
Between Oct. 31 and Nov. 26, residents donated nearly 200 food items that Bushey delivered this week to the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity (JCEO) for Clinton and Franklin Counties Community Outreach Center that serves the Town of Black Brook.
Black Brook Town Supervisor Ricky Nolan said the donations are greatly appreciated, especially during the holiday season, and would be put to good use.
“It’s very thoughtful,” he said.
Bushey said the results far exceeded her expectations, considering her limited experience with organizing charity events.
“I’m thankful for everybody that donated and helped me out,” she said.
Bushey, a graduate student studying literacy education at SUNY Plattsburgh, said the idea began as part of a class assignment to develop a social justice project.
While brainstorming ideas, she thought about the generosity she had frequently seen in her own community.
Bushey was injured in 2010 when she dove into a pool and struck her head. Soon afterwards, she and her family received a wave of support from all directions, ranging from financial donations to construction projects aimed at making her home more easily accessible.
“They are always ready and willing to step up and help their own, and I think that’s a really amazing attitude,” she said.
She decided that she wanted to use her charity project to give back to the community that devoted time and effort to her family and is always stepping up for others, too.
Bushey came up with the idea of placing food donation boxes at local businesses. Yet rather than quietly putting them around town, she developed an advertising campaign to get the word out.