It was the worst of times, it was the best of times. This is how it has been at the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry (CCRM) lately.
On the one hand, CCRM is facing the unexpected sewer flooding disaster that is still affecting its operations, but on the other hand the community has turned out to show its support for the local nonprofit.
On Tuesday the Dunkirk Rotary Club donated a check for $1,500 to help out during CCRM's busiest time.
OBSERVER Photos by Nicole Gugino
Above: Brian Aldrich Dunkirk Rotary Club Treasurer (center) and Eileen Dunn Dunkirk Rotary Club Membership Chair (right) present a check for $1,500 to Chautauqua County Rural Ministry Director Kathleen Peterson (left).
Top: Chautauqua County Rural Ministry Director Kathleen Peterson goes through the gifts donated for the holiday gift program for needy children.
"The community needs people to donate but they also need people to organize ... I think you are doing an amazing job here," Dunkirk Rotary Club Treasurer Brian Aldrich told CCRM Director Kathleen Peterson.
He said that the Rotary thought CCRM was the best place to donate the club's money.
"We wanted the Rotary's money to go to an organization that would give it away responsibly ... People ask us where the money we raise goes and this is where the Rotary's money is going, to the community and to those in need," Aldrich explained.
Peterson also accepted a generous donation Tuesday from the employees of Nestle Purina for $1,300. She mentioned others who have donated are the Beaver Club, the Women's Mission of the United Presbyterian Church donated $5,000 for CCRM's sewer problem and Maple Vale has committed to donating turkeys for the traditional Christmas meal.
"Every single penny goes to people who need it," Dunkirk Rotary Membership Chair and CCRM Board Member Eileen Dunn said.
Peterson also said the new Tim Hortons location on Vineyard Drive will be donating 10 percent of sales on Dec. 22 to the Rural Ministry.
"Thank you doesn't seem like enough," she said.
Peterson said that they have definitely had a response from the community.
"All the years I've been with Rural Ministry we've helped those in need but when we're in need the response is tremendous," she said.
She told a story of one woman who said she didn't have a lot to give but came in and donated $10.
"No donation is too small, it all adds up," Peterson explained.
Peterson said the back offices and the space behind the garment gallery are still not open due to the sewer backup and restoration crews are still working. However the Friendly Kitchen is now open and serving meals.
"No time is a good time for something like this to happen but it happened during a time when we see the greatest need," she explained.
She said one thing CCRM is facing is that the insurance policy will only cover up to $30,000 of the cost. If the work costs any more than that, the money will have to come from money used to help people the non-profit serves.
Peterson said it is not too late to help out before the holidays.
The Friendly Kitchen will be serving a traditional Christmas meal and the pantry will be giving out the fixings for families in need to serve a traditional meal at home. She said they are looking for canned food donations by Dec. 19, although there may still be some emergency need for canned food after that date.
CCRM is also still working on filling its holiday gift applications for needy children. She said they need about 1,000 items but at this point only have 600.
Many children are asking for sports balls, girls' hair accessories, arts and crafts items, board games, legos, puzzles, CD players, wallets and watches. She said children also asked for Bakugan, Transformers, Spiderman, Thomas the Train, Dora the Explorer and Justin Beiber items.
"We will be working here up until Christmas to do what needs to be done," Peterson said.
To donate to Chautauqua County Rural Ministry call 366-1787 or stop by the office at 127 Central Ave. in Dunkirk.