Syrian army responsible for Douma chemical weapons attack, watchdog confirms     Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks     After deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, fears of major escalation in West Bank      Syrian army responsible for Douma chemical weapons attack, watchdog confirms     Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks     After deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, fears of major escalation in West Bank      Business empire of Asia’s richest man hit by sell-off after fraud report     China, speeding through phases of covid, gets on with living with virus     Marshall Islands, feeling neglected by the U.S., enjoys new leverage     Syrian army responsible for Douma chemical weapons attack, watchdog confirms     Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks     After deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, fears of major escalation in West Bank      Syrian army responsible for Douma chemical weapons attack, watchdog confirms     Ukraine live briefing: Power outages hit Ukraine after strikes; U.S. to send newer Abrams tanks     After deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, fears of major escalation in West Bank      Business empire of Asia’s richest man hit by sell-off after fraud report     China, speeding through phases of covid, gets on with living with virus     Marshall Islands, feeling neglected by the U.S., enjoys new leverage     
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News of Otsego County

Salvation Army

Santa’s Helpers Convene on Railroad Avenue

Santa’s Helpers Convene
on Railroad Avenue

Photo by Tara Barnwell.

COOPERSTOWN—It looked like a winter wonderland when the Salvation Army came to The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta’s office to pick up the toys and other gifts that were donated for the Angel Tree Program.

Fifteen families will have a happier holiday thanks to the generosity of our readers. Shown above are Salvation Army Director Margie Aitken, The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta Office Manager Larissa Ryan and Angel Tree Coordinator Kyanne Clark.

Salvation Army, Price Chopper Launch Kettle Donation Program

Salvation Army, Price Chopper
Launch Kettle Donation Program

SCHENECTADY—Price Chopper/Market 32 is once again playing host to the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” holiday campaign at all 130 of its stores in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Salvation Army and Price Chopper/Market 32 have been collaborative partners in the communities they serve for more than 35 years.

Editorial Our Appreciation and Our Thanks
Editorial

Our Appreciation and Our Thanks

As we mark the traditional beginning of the holiday season with Thanksgiving celebrations this week, we at “The Freeman’s Journal” and “Hometown Oneonta” are thankful to be part of the life of Otsego County. But, as thankful as we are for the many bountiful aspects of life here, like many others, we are always mindful that suffering and need are still more plentiful in our region than in many other places. As Otsego County residents pause to give thanks this week, we ask that you consider sponsoring a family in need.

For the past 101 years, we have joined The Salvation Army to help make Christmas enjoyable for area families through the Angel Tree Program. We are proud to help our neighbors provide this assistance to others less fortunate.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: 11-18-22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18

Photographer Presents on
Local Bird Watching

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AUDUBON PRESENTATION – 7:30 p.m. Enjoy presentation from Rick Bunting, local photographer & naturalist extraordinaire titled ‘Got Cavities.’ The presentation is a compilation of local photos about local cavity nesting bird species and the family lives they create. Free, open to the public. Refreshments available. No recording will be provided. Presented by the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society at Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut Street, Oneonta. (607) 397-3815 or visit doas.us/got-cavities-an-evening-with-rick-bunting/

BLOOD DRIVE – 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Save up to 3 lives with the American Red Cross. Community Bible Chapel, 577 Greenough Road, Cooperstown. Register at redcrossblood.org

BLOOD DRIVE—12:30 – 6:30 p.m. Save up to 3 lives with the American Red Cross. Bassett Hall, 1 Atwell, Cooperstown. Register at redcrossblood.org

BE AN ANGEL – The Angel Tree Program has returned. The community is invited to adopt a family and then find Christmas gifts for each of the children listed. Gifts are due unwrapped and without tags to either the office of The Freeman’s Journal at 21 Railroad Ave. in Cooperstown, or at the Salvation Army Church at 25 River St. in Oneonta. Visit allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ for details

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: 11-16-22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16

OCCA Presents On Invasive Species

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MOUNTAIN CLUB MEETING – 6 p.m. Bring a dish to pass and enjoy dinner with friends followed by presentation on the monitoring of terrestrial invasive species. Focus will be on monitoring for the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. A hike to apply what is learned will be held 11/29. Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Visit facebook.com/SusquehannaADK

BE AN ANGEL – The Angel Tree Program has returned. The community is invited to adopt a family and then find Christmas gifts for each of the children listed. Gifts are due unwrapped and without tags to either the office of The Freeman’s Journal at 21 Railroad Ave. in Cooperstown, or at the Salvation Army Church at 25 River St. in Oneonta. Visit allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ for details

BLOOD DRIVE – Noon – 5 p.m. Save up to 3 lives with the American Red Cross. 101 C Alumni Hall, SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta. Register at redcrossblood.org

Readers give Christmas to families in need for the 100th year

Readers give Christmas
to families in need
for the 100th year

L to Right, Larissa Ryan, The Freeman’s Journal and Salvation Army representatives Captain Selah Bender, Kyanne Clark and Kenny Clark.

For 100 years now, The Freeman’s Journal has worked with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree initiative to provide gifts for families less fortunate. This year the newspaper sponsored 13 families, and because of the generosity of our readers, we were able to fill the back of the van with gifts. Many thanks to our readers and our communities, and many thanks to the Salvation Army for doing this event year after year.

 

Gifts Pile Up; Salvation Army Can Help 500 Kids

IN COVID ERA, PEOPLE REACHED OUT

Gifts Pile Up; Salvation

Army Can Help 500 Kids

At the Salvation Army gym, 25 River St., Oneonta, volunteers Joan Hill and Judy Barnum, top photo, yesterday were sorting piles of Christmas presents, enough to help 216 family with a total of 500 children. “This year has been really great.” said Capt. Selah Bender. “A lot of bank lobbies have been closed, so it has been difficult for people to get tags from the Giving Trees, but they went online and shipped us gifts! That’s never happened before! Donors have really gone above and beyond in being generous. Every present is part of their paycheck they are sacrificing.”  Inset, from left, are Captain Bender, Hill, Barnum, Kyanna Clark, Darlene Barlow and Kenny Clark.  “We have also had lots of parents with children dropping off presents,” said Bender.  “The need this year is greater, but we haven’t run out. Every time it looks like we are about to run dry, people come in with more.”  Donations will be accepted at 25 River St., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. until Dec. 22.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Outpouring Helps Buoy ‘Angel Tree’

Outpouring Helps Buoy ‘Angel Tree’

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Yes, there are more families in need of Christmas cheer. But Salvation Army Capt. Selah Bender can report, there are many more angels to help make
the season merry.

Take the Angel Tree program, where shoppers can pluck a tag off a tree with the name of a child in need of a Christmas present.

“We’ve had entire Angel Trees emptied almost as soon as we put them up,” Bender said. “We’ve had to go out and put more tags on them. We’ve had some really inspirational donors this year.”

The captain and her husband, David, six-year veterans of the Salvation Army, arrived in Oneonta in August from northern Kentucky in the midst of the COVID-19 threat, and had to adjust.

“Kettles have been a challenge since day one,” she said. “We weren’t sure we were going to be able to do them, but finally, the grocery stores all said yes.”

Getting volunteers also proved difficult, so Selah has put the form on www.salvationarmy.org. “You can register for an hour or two, or if you’re a group, sign up for the whole day,” she said.

Volunteers have to wear a mask, have no COVID symptoms and step back when people drop money in the kettle, she said.

Some familiar faces have been recruited, including Nick Whitehead, who mans sites around Oneonta. But for those who looked forward to hearing him sing while he rings, new regulations have shushed him this season.

This year, the local post is hoping to raise $35,000, down from the usual $60,000. “Because we started late, we had people calling up to say they were bringing a check by,” she said.

In addition to throwing in your spare change, each kettle is outfitted with scan-code so you can make a donation directly using Google or Apple Pay. “It looks up your zip code and donates to the local Salvation Army.”

At Walmart, shoppers also have the option of rounding up their spare change at the checkout. “That’s great for people who are doing the curbside pickup,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of help this year.”

And with the abundance from the Angel Tree, families will still be able to collect toys for their children, but instead of in one large gathering, families will sign up for a time to pick up their gifts, and they will be loaded into the car.

Similarly, the annual holiday food baskets are being discontinued. “Our volunteers are so limited, and we don’t have the college students to help sort,” she said. “It was a hard decision to make.”

But the captain sees this as a blessing in disguise. “We’re directing the people who normally get a holiday basket to our food pantry,” she said. “It’s more of a bridge than just seeing them on one day, we can continue having conversations about their needs, and they have access to the food pantry more long-term.”

And they still have both frozen turkeys and store vouchers for turkeys for anyone who might need the centerpiece of their holiday meal.

Families can sign up online, and, like the toy distribution, food distributions are by drive-up only, by appointment.

“Anyone who needs food can get food,” she said.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Learn About Diversity In Baseball 12-09-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9

Learn About Diversity In Baseball

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VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP – 1 p.m. Learn about Cultural Diversity in the ‘National Pastime’ and how the game changes around the world. Includes Q&A session. Free, registration for Zoom meeting required. Presented by The Baseball Hall of Fame. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-ask-the-expert-curatorial?date=0

ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Hall Of Fame Curator Q&A 12-08-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8

Hall Of Fame Curator Q&A

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ASK THE EXPERT – 3 p.m. Join the Curator of the Baseball Hall of Fame to discuss how the collections are selected and organized. Includes Q&A session. Free, registration for Zoom meeting required. Presented by The Baseball Hall of Fame. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-ask-the-expert-curatorial?date=0

ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF CANCELLED EVENTS
CLICK TO LOOK AHEAD AT WHAT’S HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO
Oneonta ‘Missionary At Heart’ Retires – For Now
Joyce Mason Saved ‘Lord’s Kitchen,’ An Much More

Oneonta ‘Missionary At Heart’

Retires – For Now

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Joyce Mason is retiring as Lord’s Table director after rescuing the food pantry 10 years ago. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

In 2008, Joyce Mason, working as a missionary in Honduras, got an urgent message that she was needed at home in Oneonta.

“Opportunities for Otsego had decided to give the Lord’s Table two weeks’ notice that they would no longer run it,” she said. “And although they tried to limp along, it wasn’t enough.”

After locating a landline phone to talk with the staff at St. James Episcopal Church, Mason came back to Oneonta as director of the nightly feeding ministry and the Loaves & Fishes food pantry.

“I got home on May 31,” she said. “I went into work on June 2, and I’ve been here ever since.”

And at the end of the year, Mason will retire from feeding families, the elderly and the disenfranchised after 22 years of service.

“If people are hungry, you have to feed them,” she said. “That’s important. It doesn’t matter if they’re rich or poor or sideways. Anyone can come.”

A native of Forrest Hills, Mason moved to Sidney with her husband, James. He passed away in 1995, leaving her with their two sons, James and Peter.

“After they graduated high school, I became a missionary,” she said. “And I was sent to Honduras.”

But when she got back, there was much work to be done to get the pantry and the kitchen where they needed to be to serve the city’s hungry.

“When I got here, it was not a happy situation,” she said. “So much of what was in the freezers wasn’t labeled, and I had to throw everything in the dumpster. It made me very sad.”

She immediately set to restocking the fridges. “I ordered food from the Regional Food Bank and, sometimes, from restaurants or catered events, like weddings,” she said. “And I started calling every group I could get to help serve the meals.”

With the First United Methodist Church hosting Saturday’s Bread, and the Salvation Army offering the “Meal With a Message,” a hot meal is offered free of charge seven days a week in the city.
“There is no place else between Albany and Binghamton that does that,” Mason said. “And in a town this size, we’re absolutely blessed to have three meal service programs.”

In 2018, Mason spearheaded the formation of the Otsego County Hunger Coalition, creating a network of all the food pantries, feeding programs and farmers’ markets in the county to make sure everyone has access to food wherever they may be.

But there have been challenges along the way. “After the flood of 2011, we were the Otsego County Disaster Feeding program,” she said. “St. Mary’s was housing people, many of them from

Lantern Hill” – the Southside trailer park – “and we had to feed them three meals a day.’

She was preparing lunch for the flood victims one afternoon when she smelled smoke. “The food pantry was on fire,” she said.

Rather than shut down, the pantry moved into St. James and continued its ministry. “We were closed from Friday to Tuesday,” she said. “We had to keep it going.”

The pantry was rededicated in March 2012, and Mason was lauded by Father Kenneth Hunter for continuing to feed the most needy among them.

And this year, the ministries had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the Lord’s Table to go to take-out only.

This year, 3,642 households have received food, the highest number in five years.

“It’s tough for the older people especially,” she said. “They need that socialization of sitting down and having a meal with somebody. It’s not available to us right now, but as soon as we can reopen, we will.”

It has also limited the food available at the pantry. “We’re having a lot of trouble getting beef or pork,” she said. “It’s just not available.”

While Mason is leaving her post at year’s end, she doesn’t expect to stay put for long in her retirement. “I’m a missionary at heart,” she said. “I go where I’m needed.”

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2019
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3

SUNY Oneonta Presentation:

‘Fish, Fishing, Dams, Climate’

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ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

LECTURE – 7 – 9 p.m. Dr. Daniel Stitch delivers this years Richard Siegfried Lecture. He will present “Fish, Fishing, Dams, and Climate: What have we lost, and what do we stand to gain?” Craven Lounge, Morris Conference Center, SUNY Oneonta.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29

Santa Welcome Parade

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ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

SANTA’S ARRIVAL – 5 p.m. Celebrate Santa’s arrival in Cooperstown to receive gift requests at the winter cottage in Pioneer Park, Main St., Cooperstown. 607-547-9983 or visit www.wearecooperstown.com

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2019
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21

Turkey Dinner For Senior Citizens

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ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit www.allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ to learn how.

TURKEY DINNER – 5 – 6:30 p.m. Senior citizens are invited for delicious dinner sponsored by Lions Club, LEOs, CCS PTA. Take-out available. Cafeteria, Cooperstown High School. 607-547-2401.

Kettle Drive Begins For Salvation Army

DONATE IN COOPERSTOWN, ONEONTA

Kettle Drive Begins

For Salvation Army

Bell-ringer Brian Oliver of Oneonta mans the kettle at Cooperstown’s Price Chopper at this hour as the Salvation Army’s annual Kettle Drive gets underway today for the 2019 Christmas Season. Kettles crews are also stationed at Oneonta’s Price Chopper, Southside Mall and the Kmart in Sidney. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103