“Giving Tuesday” a day to focus on community help and engagement

Executive Director Mary Kate Kenney (left) and
Board Chair Sharon Oberriter (right) pack boxes
for pick-up at the Cooperstown Food Pantry. (Tara Barnwell/AllOtsego.com

“Giving Tuesday” a day to focus on community help and engagement

By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Groups from around the world joined in 2012’s inaugural “Giving Tuesday” on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, encouraging people to step outside the more commerce-driven post-holiday “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” and give back to do good in their communities and in the world.

Now an annual event, “Giving Tuesday” takes place this year on November 30.

For those looking to give back right here in Otsego County, we highlight here some organizations to consider:

The Cooperstown Food Pantry
The Cooperstown Food Pantry was founded in 1977 by Otsego County resident Ellen St. John. Executive Director Mary Kate Kenney said St. John started the pantry because she saw there were local people whose circumstances made it a challenge to obtain food. The First Presbyterian Church at 25 Church Street in Cooperstown has hosted the pantry since 1992, serving the northern two-thirds of Otsego County.

Kenney said in 2020, 538 households made a total of 1,823 visits. She said some clients only need to come to the food pantry during certain times of year, such as when oil bills are high in the middle of Upstate New York winter. The Cooperstown Food Pantry partners with the Cooperstown Central School district for the backpack program, providing food for families whose students receive
free lunches.

“It’s so important to us to know that we can be here to help families get through tough times,” Kenney said, adding that a one-dollar donation can buy $10 worth of food through the Regional Food Bank.
For more details on how to donate or get involved visit cooperstownfoodpantry.org

The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA)
The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) is dedicated to its mission of caring for animals in need. Executive Director Stacie Haynes said that while cats and dogs are the shelter’s most-supported animals, they also welcome guinea pigs, birds, and other animals. The SQSPCA is committed to ending animal homelessness. Haynes said the SQSPCA makes every effort to have conversations with prospective pet parents and their families about their lives, to understand the impact of pet ownership and commitment from the owner.

“We are a friend to every prospective pet owner and are there to support pet parents along the way,” Haynes said. “There is nothing more motivating than helping to save animals in need.”

Haynes said this year’s donations will go toward supplies and costs for dental work and other procedures that can be done at the SQSPCA location.

For more details about the Susquehanna SPCA visit sqspca.org.

The Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA)
Founded in 1968, the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) addresses a broad range of local environmental issues. According to its website, “OCCA is dedicated to promoting the conservation and appreciation of natural resources through research, advocacy, education, resource management, and practice.” Deirdre Crouse, Project Manager at OCCA, said since at least 2006, much of OCCA’s efforts have been focused on management of invasive species in Otsego County water and land.

Crouse said since 2006, OCCA has removed approximately 60,000 pounds of water chestnut from Goodyear Lake with the help of 500 volunteers. She said the 2021 campaign is focused on increasing education on the ecosystem and environmental issues. This will be accomplished through lectures, hikes, and other events.

“My favorite part about being involved with the OCCA is helping an organization that wants to make Otsego County a better place for all,” Crouse said. “It is my hope that through the work of the OCCA there will continue to be safe water for activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming.”

To learn more about donating or supporting OCCA in its mission, visit occainfo.org/.

For more than 90 years, Springbrook has been committed to its mission of “Supporting people with disabilities for a lifetime.” Stacey Grady, director of Development, said a wide range of services can be provided depending on individual needs. Services can range from support in the individual’s own home to support at one of Springbrook’s residential locations. Wherever someone calls home, Springbrook is committed to helping them explore and access their local community.

“Springbook supports people of all ages,” Grady said. “We support more than 1,000 individuals with disabilities across central New York.”

Grady said this Giving Tuesday, Springbrook is focused on its equine therapy fund. Equine therapy adapts horseback riding and related activities for people with disabilities.

“Equine therapy has physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits,” Grady said. Springbrook has maintained its equine therapy fund for more than 10 years. Grady said even though therapeutic riding is expensive, the funds help to eliminate financial barriers. She said riders who receive this funding can choose between Athelas Stables located in Otego, and Goldengate Stables in Sidney Center.

“Especially for these scholarships, every gift matters,” Grady said. For more information, go to springbrookny.org.

For a wide range of non-profit organizations to consider this Giving Tuesday, visit https://members.otsegocc.com/list/category/non-profit-organization-11.

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