PLATTSBURGH — The region’s generosity was recently highlighted with a record-breaking total during this year’s 20th anniversary of the Eye Care for the Adirondack’s Interfaith Food Shelf auction.
Fueled by a $9,000 donation from the TD Bank Charitable Foundation, the annual fundraiser — held on the weekend following Thanksgiving at the Elks Lodge in Plattsburgh — raised a total of $29,308 for the Food Shelf, an increase from $18,000 in 2011.
“This year’s auction lasted a good six hours,” said Faye Martineau, business manager for Eye Care for the Adirondacks.
She gave special praise to Eye Care switchboard operator Shelley Frazier for contacting area businesses in search of support for the fundraiser.
Eye Care staff spend several months preparing for the annual event, putting together creative baskets to be auctioned off.
“They work on this a long time,” Martineau said.
MONEY GOES FURTHER
Dr. Kjell Dahlen recalls the early days of the business’s fundraising efforts, before the first official auction.
“Some of the people on staff collected food items that we distributed to families in need,” he said. “It was very touching to deliver the food, but then we learned that there is much better value when donating money to the Food Shelf.”
The Interfaith Food Shelf delivers between $11,000 and $12,000 of food products to the community each month, said Gerry Eagan, treasurer for the Food Shelf.
“We’ve spent $116,000 over an 11-month period (this year),” he said, noting that November is an especially busy time. The agency purchased $19,800 in food products during the month.
The Food Shelf provides a four-day supply of emergency meals for county residents, who can apply for a donation up to seven times each year. Each package includes supplies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Every year we are so grateful for what Eye Care for the Adirondacks does,” said Dorothy Crawford, who is co-coordinator for the Food Shelf with Dorothy Latta. “We are seeing an increase in the number of people who use the Food Shelf and an increase in the money we need to spend.
“This (donation) really helps carry us over the next couple of months.”
BOOST FROM BANK
TD Bank Branch Managers Germaine Hicks, Jean Miller, Patti LaGoy and Christiana Mullen recently traveled to Eye Care to present their donation. Branch Manager Kim Ryan was not able to attend.
Eye Care originally submitted an application for a $1,000 donation from TD Bank, which was approved, but then the branch managers suggested that additional funds from the company’s Charitable Foundation be included in the overall donation.
“We are very grateful for TD Bank and for the community in general for the support they provide,” Dahlen said. “It’s the businesses and people in our community who make the auction a success each year.”
Eye Care for the Adirondacks has about 100 employees, and Dahlen praised their efforts to ensure there are quality items for the auction each year.
“Our people in the practice feel some responsibility to other members of the community who may be down on their luck and having difficult times,” he said.
“I’ve been around for all of the auctions, but it truly is a staff effort that makes it a success.”
Email Jeff Meyers: firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on the Plattsburgh Interfaith Food Shelf, call 562-FOOD (3663) or visit Plattsburgh Food Shelf at www.plattsburghfoodshelf.org.