January 6, 2009
County Workers Donate Loads of Gifts for Needy Children
Julie Warren, left, supervising public health nurse, and Amy Kunzwiler, social worker from Granby Elementary School, take a break from collecting gifts for school children across Oswego County.
Bonnie Savage and Carolyn Miller of the county health department led the campaign in which the staff collect donations and wrap and deliver gifts to area schools. The program received a generous response from many county employees. In addition to children's toys and gifts, several coats, jackets, snow pants, hats and mittens were donated and distributed to local elementary schools and the Mental Health Association. Pictured from left are Laurie Ascenzi-Spicer, Oswego County Tourism Office; Carolyn Miller, Oswego County Health Department; and Jessica Trump Burt, Oswego County Tourism Office.
OSWEGO -- Stacks of brightly wrapped Christmas packages and piles of warm and cozy jackets, hats, and gloves added to the daily hustle and bustle of the County Health Department's office this season as donations for the annual “Giving Tree” project arrived at 70 Bunner St., Oswego.
A large pile of gifts and outerwear was collected for school nurses to distribute to more than 100 children and families across Oswego County. And on Christmas Eve, Julie Clement, a senior typist in the Health Department's Hospice Program, could be found delivering more than a dozen gifts to a family that lost its home to a fire in Hastings.
County government employees in the Bunner Street and East Bridge Street offices have collected donations and sponsored a “giving tree” for many years. The project was first organized by Sandy Butera, a health department employee who passed away in 2003. Since then, Carolyn Miller, assisted by Bonnie Savage and several other elves, has carried on the tradition of contacting school nurses for gift requests for needy families. A few years ago, the staff of the County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning on East Bridge Street joined the project and asked others in their building to take part.
“We received an overwhelming and generous response from the county workers,” said Miller.
The piles of gifts were even larger this year because county government employees are also sending supplies to a U.S. Army platoon which they adopted in Afghanistan. Gifts were also donated to the Oswego County Mental Health Association.
“Many of our employees buy these gifts as if they were for their own children,” said Miller. They go above and beyond to meet the children's requests. Once again, our employees have proven themselves to be very generous and willing to help out others in times of need.”
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