Still time to help spread Christmas cheer


By Jim Poole

Hundreds of families that would normally go without will enjoy the holidays, thanks to Schoharie County's Communitywide Christmas Collaboration.
And there's still time for you to help.
Formed four years ago, the Collaboration is a group of agencies that gets toys and gift cards for food and holiday supplies to needy families. Donations come from the public.
Since 2012, the Collaboration has helped more than 700 local families. This year, 287 families have signed up, according to Melissa Jones of Head Start.
"It's basically the working poor, with three, four or five kids and having trouble making ends meet," Ms. Jones said.
"For those that apply, the need is huge."
But it's not only families with kids. Help goes to the elderly, too.
"A lot of those we help are extended families--grandparents, parents and kids living in one home," Ms. Jones said.
The Collaboration raised $27,000 last year, and this year, $18,000.
"I think we've raised a good amount," said Tyler James of Schoharie Area Long Term. "Donations have been strong."
The Collaboration is centered at Head Start in Cobleskill, but other agencies play major roles, too. Catholic Charities signs up families, SALT helps sort and deliver toys and others help, too.
"The Chamber of Commerce has done a lot this year, and Cobleskill-Richmondville schools have really helped," Ms. Jones said. "They put out applications for families."
Schoharie County Community Action Program, Community Maternity Services, churches and groups help too, she added.
Although there's only a week left before families get their goods, Head Start will still accept donations of toys, gift cards, money and clothing, Ms. Jones said.
Checks can be made out to SCCDC with a notation for Christmas and dropped off or mailed to Head Start, 114 Lark Street, Cobleskill.
And even though it's past the application deadline, families can still sign up for holiday help, Ms. Jones said. They should contact Catholic Charities at 234-3581.
"Some families wait till the last minute. . .they may have exhausted their resources," Ms. Jones said. "But we still try to help."