GOOD NEWS!: Holiday meal giveaway feeds 40 area families

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Local businesses and charitable groups pooled their resources to bring free holiday meals to 40 area families. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

GREENVILLE — Local businesses and charitable groups pooled their resources and efforts to help 40 local families have a bit more joy this holiday season.

The “Feed Your Mind, Feed A Family” program was started in the Greenville area in 2021 by Capital Region Independent Media, which publishes the Greenville Pioneer.

Forty turkey meals with all the trimmings were handed out to local charitable groups and to individual families during a ceremony at Tops supermarket on Nov. 17. With each meal including enough food to feed six or more people, organizers estimate the program will provide holiday meals to 240 or more individuals.

The program brings together local companies, who donate funds to sponsor meals, which are then given to charitable groups for distribution to families in need. Funds are also raised through newspaper subscriptions to the Greenville Pioneer, which continues through Dec. 17.

“Each time someone bought a subscription to the newspaper, we bought food for a family in need,” said Warren Dews. Jr., publisher and vice president, who came up with the program. “We also want to thank the organizations that sponsored this. There are many different things we can do in the community, but we chose to help bring a little extra joy to families that are struggling to make ends meet during the holiday season. As the local newspaper and media company, we are here not only to provide news and information, but to be here for the community when they need it.”

Capital Region Independent Media President Mark Vinciguerra said the “Feed Your Mind, Feed A Family” program is emblematic of how local news is entrenched in the community it serves.

“We are not just providing a service, we are part of this community, for the good times and the challenging times,” Vinciguerra said. “We are happy to help in any way that we can, and this is a way to bring smiles to local residents during the holidays.”

The Tops supermarket, located on Route 32, has participated in the program since its inception in 2021.

“As your neighborhood grocery store, we are proud to once again give back this holiday season by sponsoring the ‘Feed Your Mind, Feed A Family’ program,” said Michael Sterling, Tops store manager. “As we take a moment this holiday season to come together as a community, we rekindle our hope for the future, and share our gratitude with all of you, who are like family to us.”

A volunteer helps load up turkeys that were donated to local groups and individuals. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Local businesses contributed to the cause and were on hand to help hand out meals.

Coldwell Banker Prime Properties donated meals for the second year in a row and helped organize and load up vehicles with the contributed meals.

“We want to help the community,” said Deb Danner, manager of Coldwell Prime Properties. “We are active members in a lot of community organizations. Warrens [Dews Jr.] from the [Greenville] Pioneer got a hold of us and asked if we wanted to get involved again and we said absolutely. Especially now, with the prices of everything going up, turkeys are expensive, so if we can help people who need it, we are there.”

Each meal included a 12-pound turkey, rolls, a bag of potatoes, two cans of corn, a box of stuffing, a can of cranberry sauce, and a liter of soda.

Deb Danner from Coldwell Banker Prime Properties helps organize meal deliveries to local not-for-profit groups. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Mike Caprio, also with Coldwell Banker Prime Properties, said the holiday season is a great time to help people in need of a helping hand.

“The company is an active community participant in a lot of things and this is just another example of how we can help the community and benefit people who need it,” Caprio said. “There are a lot of people who need right now, and I think a turkey meal is a helpful thing in this season.”

With inflation and food prices on the rise, the holiday season is expected to be a challenge for many families, according to local organizations.

According to the New York Farm Bureau’s 2022 Market Basket Survey, the price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal rose by double digits this year compared to 2021, by about 26%.

Meals were given to individuals who turned out for the event, with many going to local not-for-profit food pantries and other groups to make the holiday season a bit brighter.

“We are getting 15 meals today,” said Christine Rufa Olmsted from Hilltowns Resource Center, a food pantry in Westerlo. “We have identified the families that will receive these meals. They appreciate the help — we are all getting hit so hard now and to do this right now is just amazing.”

The “Feed Your Mind, Feed A Family” program was made possible thanks to contributions from major sponsors Holcim, Crossroads Ford, TCI and Nolan Propane.

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