Sunday, 04 November 2012 14:43

Harborfest hosts Red Cross, Salvation Army and Toys for Tots Nov. 15

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Oswego Harbor Festivals, Inc. will be hosting the inaugural "Collaboration of Kindness Day" from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15, in the ballroom of the McCrobie Building, 41 Lake Street adjacent to the Harborfest Offices.

     Four different agencies will be on hand to collect donations to kick off the 2012 holiday season locally.
     Danielle Hayden, executive director of the Oswego County Chapter of the Red Cross, represents the first part of this holiday collaboration. The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Unit will be accepting items for the "Comfort Kits," which are given to victims immediately after they have been displaced by a fire or natural disaster, like the recent hurricane that devastated parts of New York State. The contents of a typical comfort kit for an adult include a washcloth, shower gel or soap, mild shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, tissues, razor, shaving cream, comb, lotion and mouthwash. Kits for children include most of the same items along with a coloring or puzzle book, crayons or pencils along with a new stuffed teddy bear. Kits for adults and children can sometimes contain basic sweatshirts or sweat pants as well.
     Majors Kathryn and James Purvis, executive directors of the Oswego County Salvation Army, represent the second part of this holiday collaboration. The Salvation Army "Food Pantry" will be collecting perishable and non-perishable items just one week ahead of Thanksgiving Day. The local food pantry is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and serves between 30-90 people each day. The number is sure to increase for the Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 22. Donations that will be helpful for Thanksgiving include turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes and deserts. Items that can be donated and used any time of the year include vegetables, fruits, snack items, juice boxes, cereals and spaghetti sauce. Because the food pantry is located only a few blocks away from the Lake Street "Collaboration of Kindness" event, frozen items can be donated at this event and be taken right to the pantry for storage.
     Chris Jones, the Oswego County coordinator with "Toys for Tots," represents the third part of this holiday collaboration. Toys for Tots will be collecting unwrapped toys for distribution in the local community at Christmas time. The local Toys for Tots program continues to grow each year and the number of drop-box locations continues to grow as well. During the 2011 holiday season, Jones had nearly 200 drop-box locations throughout Oswego County and he distributed approximately 5,000 toys from those boxes back to children in this community.    The donations remain where they are placed and Jones is looking forward to and even bigger turnout of donations for the 2012 holiday season as the Toys for Tots program is under way at the "Collaboration of Kindness" event.
     The final piece of this inaugural holiday collaboration event is the American Red Cross Blood Services Group which will be holding a blood drive in the memory of Paul Santore from 12-6 p.m. during the day-long event at the McCrobie Building ballroom. At the time of his recent passing on Sept. 13, Santore was the sitting board president for the Salvation Army and had served in the past as the Oswego County Republican Committee Treasurer, Republican County Legislator and Republican City Chairman. He also served as a past board member for Harborfest and was a "Friend of the Festival" again for the 2012 event. His passing came way too early for someone so involved in the community he loved to serve.  People who Paul came in contact with can honor his memory by taking part in the blood drive that bears his name on "Collaboration of Kindness Day."
     The Oswego Harborfest staff is proud to host this event to benefit these four great causes. The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Unit, the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and the American Red Cross Blood Service Group all hope for a good turnout to kick off the holiday season at this inaugural "Collaboration of Kindness Day" on Nov. 15.
     Representatives from the agencies that are part of the "Collaboration of Kindness Day" will be featured Tuesday, Nov. 13, on WSYR TV 9's "Bridge Street" program to promote these four great causes one more time before the event.
     For event updates, visit or call the Harborfest Offices at 315-343-FREE.

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