It may be getting close to the end of the United Way's 11th annual Community Caring Week in northern Chautauqua County, but lasting impressions made during the week's volunteer efforts were far from over on Thursday.
Lake Shore Savings Bank employee Rachael Moscato and Coordinator of SUNY Fredonia's Volunteer and Community Services Program Joyce Harvard Smith were on hand at the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry's soup kitchen, known as The Friendly Kitchen. The volunteers were there to help prepare a lunch of sausages, pasta salad and hot dogs for those in need.
"Each year, SUNY Fredonia has helped out in the Week of Caring," Harvard Smith said. "It is important to give back and we stress that to our students to give back and make a difference in the lives of others."
OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox
Lake Shore Savings Bank employee Rachael Moscato (left) and Coordinator of SUNY Fredonia’s Volunteer and Community Services Program Joyce Harvard Smith were on hand Thursday at the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry’s soup kitchen, known as The Friendly Kitchen, to help prepare lunch for those in need.
Moscato, who graduated from Fredonia in December, said she was fortunate enough to find a job right out of college.
"The bank's motto is 'putting people first,' so that's what I'm trying to live up to by volunteering here today," she said.
Harvard Smith said the need to volunteer is crucial due to an increase in the number of people who use The Friendly Kitchen for food.
"There are over 100 people a day that use this kitchen, so it is important for people, especially students, to volunteer," she said. "There is just an ongoing need for them."
She also said students at the college participate in volunteering events such as the Day of Service, when they contribute more than 15,000 hours of community service to more than 20 different agencies in the area.
Earlier in the week, employees from the Nestle Purina Pet Care Company helped to paint the walls inside the Garment Gallery, which is a part of CCRM. CCRM Executive Director Kathleen Peterson thanked all the volunteers for coming in to help throughout the week and echoed Harvard Smith's sentiments regarding an ongoing need.
"We are fortunate to be one of the agency partners of United Way. Their support helps us meet the unmet needs in the community through our food programs. It truly is not about meeting a goal, but meeting a need," she said.
"The Week of Caring is just another way that our agency and those we serve benefit from the giving of others," Peterson continued. "We are grateful to the employers which allow their employees to spend a few hours helping out UW partners in such a wide variety of tasks and look forward each year in getting some of the larger projects completed. UW, local businesses and community partners are fortunate to be the recipients of such kindness."
Volunteers will help with projects throughout the county today, which is the final day of the Week of Caring. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the United Way Office in Dunkirk at 366-5424. The United Way is always looking for volunteers year-round. Those interested can visit www.volunteerwny.org for more information.
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