The holiday spirit of giving is alive and well throughout the Southern Tier. According to early November parish bulletins provided to the Catholic Courier, a multitude of efforts are under way to assist the poor and disadvantaged with food and other gifts. Among these examples of generosity:
- Giving trees have gone up at St. Patrick in Owego and St. Margaret Mary in Apalachin. Parishioners are adopting families and donating food, clothing and other goods.
- An annual coat drive is being conducted by St. Margaret Mary’s youth groups. In addition, youths of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes are making fruit baskets for Christmas. The baskets may be purchased for general purposes or donated to community members who are needy, homebound or in hospitals.
- St. James in Waverly is continuing its tradition of staging a food collection and angel tree, in an effort to provide Christmas baskets for the needy and shut-ins.
- St. John the Evangelist in Newark Valley is among the organizers of an ecumenical community dinner to take place on Thanksgiving Day at neighboring First Congregational United Church of Christ.
- The youth group of Immaculate Conception, Ithaca, hosted its free annual Thanksgiving dinner for parish senior citizens on Nov. 15.
- Immaculate Conception is collecting food donations for Thanksgiving baskets to be given to families in need.
- Lap blankets are being made by volunteers at St. Anthony, Groton, so they can be donated to residents of Groton Nursing Home.
- Christmas baskets made by Dryden’s Holy Cross Parish will go to 20 needy families. Nonperishable food items are currently being collected.
- Schuyler Catholic Community is taking part in Operation Christmas Child, an initiative that provides gifts for children worldwide who have little or nothing of their own. Parishioners can donate small toys, books, dolls, school supplies, personal-hygiene items and personalized notes to support this effort.
- St. Mary Our Mother in Horseheads is collecting nonperishable food donations to assist numerous families during Christmas.
- Elmira’s Christ the Redeemer is collecting items for Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets, and also is participating in Operation Christmas Child.
- Elmira’s St. Mary Southside is providing Christmas baskets for nearly 100 families in need through Catholic Charities. The baskets will include food and a wide variety of gifts.
- St Joseph in Campbell is preparing Christmas food baskets.
- The women’s club of All Saints Parish in Corning/Painted Post will collect food donations for Thanksgiving baskets during its Harvest Dinner on Nov. 17.
- The Teen Angel/Project N.O.E.L. program, an annual effort of All Saints, is once again making Christmas gifts for a number of families, particularly teens. This initiative seeks sponsorships as well as the purchase of gifts by parishioners.