Monday, April 1, 2013

Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Gives Back to Local Kids

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming participated in NYSARC's President's Project Week to give back to local communities March 25th through March 31st with an agency-wide "Food for Families" drive that benefits Livingston County Head Start.  The chapter collected about 150 healthy food items that will be distributed to area children. 

Brandon Pepin, Mary Tuso, Heather Bump, Juan Padilla,
Mark Hathaway, Chris Peterson, and Deb Tuckerman
give back through The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's
"Food for Families" drive.
Head Start is a is a nation-wide program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to children and families based on financial need.  Locally, Livingston County Head Start serves 71 three- and four-year-old children.

Preparation for the food drive began in February at KidStart, The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's children's services program, where the Food for Families Committee identified 12 key foods to be collected for Head Start families.  Next, each of 10 Arc locations focused on collecting 1-2 of the designated items.  For example, peanut butter and jelly were collected at KidStart, spaghetti and sauce at the Hilltop Industries work center in Mount Morris, and macaroni and cheese at Hilltop's East Avon location.

Staff and program participants pitched in throughout the month of March, and particularly stepped up their efforts during President's Project Week, which is when the greatest number of donations were made.

"We collected oatmeal at our administration building," explains Public Relations Director Jeff Thomas.  "Donations were slow and steady for the first three weeks.  Then on Monday, March 25th employees suddenly stepped up with about 25 pounds in one day.  That's a lot of oatmeal, and every item collected is a small but important step in ending hunger in this area."

Items collected included oatmeal (28 boxes), peanut butter (28 jars), jelly/jam (24 jars), macaroni & cheese (15 boxes), canned spaghetti products (13 cans), boxed pasta (11 boxes), granola bars (7 boxes), popcorn (5 boxes), and spaghetti sauce (3 jars). Cereal, soup, and pudding/fruit cups were also collected.

KidStart staff will distribute the food to Livingston County Head Start families from their Lehman Building in Groveland, located in the center of Livingston County.

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming is one of 55 Chapters of NYSARC, a state-wide organization supporting approximately 60,000 people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families.  President's Project Week is an annual initiative by the state organization to collectively conduct volunteer programs during a single week, sending a resounding message about NYSARC Chapters' deeply rooted connections to their communities.

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