Day of Service beautifies valley and replenishes pantry shelves
Vicky Kent leads a painting crew at the Fairgrounds
The Day of Service was observed on a busy Saturday across Oneida County. Founded to commemorate the feeling of sacrifice and togetherness brought on by the healing that took place across the country following the events of September 11th 2001, the Day of Service organizers encourage cities, towns, and counties to work together to strengthen their community relationships and infrastructure.
This year, Carol’s Pantry, the county’s only food bank and a service run by the Oneida Crisis Center, was one of the primary recipients of the goodwill and assistance of an area which has demonstrated a consistent willingness to pitch in and help when needed. The pantry stores had been reported as being especially low, something which is commonly experienced by food pantries at the end of the summer season. Winter months tend to receive to bulk of attention and donations as a result of the many specifically charitable events that coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the summer months often go overlooked.
Dozens of volunteers, and potentially hundreds of donors to the food bank helped to bring some of that charitable spirit to the beginning of Fall. As the boxes were handed down to volunteer stockers from the trailer, Tony McClain kept a count. “113!” he shouted, to cheers from those on hand. “I think we did a good job here.”
Food was collected from homes and several drop off locations around town in the early morning hours, after which it was taken to be sorted by food type at the Victory Baptist Church. Families, individuals, and organizers packed the building, and as the expression goes, many hands made light work.
The boxes were then taken to the Pantry, where the materials were further sorted and stocked onto the shelves under Cindy Ward’s direction. “This is more people than I think I’ve ever seen come out for this,” Toni Werk, of the Interfaith Council, said. “This is great!” Carol Tschida agreed. “We’ve been doing this since the Interfaith Council started, and we’ve never been done before three o’clock before.”
Elsewhere, a number of other projects kept volunteers busy. Siding on the Presbyterian Church was replaced, just up the hill from the parking lot behind the Veterans Memorial, where workers dug out weeds and cleaned the flower beds. A new coat of paint was put on rails around the fairgrounds, which certainly needed it. Tree starts, weeds, and branches were trimmed throughout the city park and along the green way. Samaria saw a crew of volunteers involved in a number of projects at Heritage Square, and benches were repaired and painted at the Holbrook Community Park. Trash was cleaned at the local public shooting ranges, as well.
“This is a great event here in this community,” County Commissioner Brian Jeppsen said, unloading boxes at the pantry. “This is the kind of place Oneida County is.”
The Day of Service has had a strong show of support in the community, and serves as a wonderful reminder of the kinds of things that can be accomplished when people come together to make things better.
"I was happy to be here," Nolan Briscoe said. "This is something that helps people, and I think that's great!"