This holiday season, for their 15th anniversary, the Save of the Day Foundation went above and beyond to spread Christmas cheer by adopting and shopping for 50 local families. The families, which were found and organized by Shelley Penge of the Municipal Housing Authority and Amy Redmond from Kids Oneida, are all either homeless, refugees, or working poor. Lisa Meyers and Chris Viti, along with Shelley and Amy, were able to find adopters for 100 total families this holiday season, including Zetlin’s Lounge members, Aqua Vino regulars, Jr. Comet parents, New Hartford teachers and students, Crossfit Mohawk Valley, NYS Troopers, members of local law enforcement and local businesses.
Over the past two weeks, Comets staff members volunteered their time shopping for 50 families; each member of each family received a shirt, pair of pants, set of pajamas, pair of shoes and one to two wish list items. The total shopping took hours and included many trips, most of which were done at Target, and included eight carts filled to the brim per trip.
On Monday and Tuesday of last week, Comets staff members, wives, and girlfriends spent a total of 14 hours wrapping for their 50 families. By Wednesday, the other donors delivered their presents to Zetlin’s Lounge and were greeted by Christmas cookies and Christmas drinks. Finally, on Thursday, volunteers met at the Adirondack Bank Center to load gifts into a trailer that made stops at each housing authority. Four families were able to make the trip to the Adirondack Bank Center on Thursday as well to pick up their gifts and meet the people who helped make their Christmas possible.
This is the second year that Lisa, Shelley, and Chris have led the charge in organizing their own holiday Adopt-A-Family program. They began adopting families over the holidays last year to raise awareness for those less fortunate and to help make their holidays a little brighter. In their first year, they successfully assisted 18 families, but knew that 2017 was the time to kick it up a couple of notches.
“To say I am proud to live in this community is an understatement,” expressed Lisa Meyers. “We are home to some of the most thoughtful, compassionate, and generous people I have yet to encounter. Last year, we were able to assist 18 families during the holiday season. This year, our goal was to reach 40 families…and we easily surpassed that target. With the graciousness of several local businesses, organizations, and private donors, we were able to help 100 families! A huge thank you to all of the friends, volunteers, and students (who raised money on their own by doing extra chores) who made this initiative possible! Between organizing, shopping, wrapping, and delivering we could not have done it without all of you! Thank you to the Save of the Day Foundation, the Utica Comets, and their staff for beneficently adopting 50 of those families.”
Save of the Day partners with the Adopt-A-Family each holiday season to bring added cheer to the lives of those less fortunate. Save of the Day also focuses on local families, keeping their impact for Adopt-A-Family close to home in the Mohawk Valley.
“Adopt-A-Family is at the core of the spirit of Christmas and is a true honor to be insulated with some of the most generous people in our area, reminding us all of the dreaming of Christmas,” said Comets President Robert Esche.