DELMAR, NY (04/04/2012)(readMedia)-- Every day, volunteers from NYSARC, Inc. Chapters participate in a large variety of community activities. From food drives to Meals on Wheels to blood drives, NYSARC's involvement in the local community is vital to the survival of many other non-profits. This was never more apparent than last week when NYSARC's 55 Chapters around the State joined together in a celebration of community called the NYSARC Gives Back President's Project.
"Volunteers from [NYSARC's Putnam County Chapter (PARC)] are an integral and invaluable part in the successful implementation of our programs," said Rosemarie Yasiejko, site manager at the East Fishkill Friendship Center, part of the County Office for the Aging. "PARC has provided nearly weekly services at the East Fishkill site for at least 10 years and has been instrumental in running meal delivery routes for our Beacon and Fishkill locations as well," she added. The Putnam County Chapter also participated in Meals on Wheels and local recycling projects.
Elsewhere, the Columbia County Chapter's employees and volunteers donated more than 1,500 cans and packages of food to the local BackPack Program and sold flowers to support the American Cancer Society, raising more than $2,800. The Broome-Tioga (ACHIEVE), Genesee, Livingston-Wyoming, Montgomery (Liberty), Niagara (Opportunities Unlimited), Oneida-Lewis, Ontario, Orleans, Rockland, Saratoga, Seneca-Cayuga, Sullivan, and Ulster-Greene Counties Chapters all participated in food drives in association with their local food banks, a partnership made possible by the Food Bank Association of New York State. Together they collected more than two thousand pounds of food, benefiting hundreds of families. The Schuyler, Steuben, and Chemung Counties Chapters combined their efforts and packed 1,080 bags for the BackPack program of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.
"I think this is very unique and wonderful that a nonprofit organization like Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara had their participants, their participants' families, and their employees do something like this for another nonprofit agency," said Carol Palumbo, NiaCAP's family development and nutrition supervisor.
NYSARC's Otsego County Chapter exceeded their blood drive goals, collecting 33 units of blood, enough to save the lives of 99 people. The Madison-Cortland Counties Chapter also held a blood drive. Paula Sheehan, a Madison Cortland ARC employee, commented, "I like helping people--it's amazing to think that you're saving a life by donating blood!" Other Chapters held community clean-up projects, volunteered at their local veteran's centers, and worked at nearby animal shelters. The St. Lawrence County Chapter alone participated in more than 25 different volunteer programs and the Self-Advocacy Group from the Delaware County Chapter continued its practice of holding monthly fundraisers.
"We're hoping other community agencies with needs for volunteers will contact us," said Jeanette Frank, executive director of the Arc of Schuyler. "Maybe they can be helped by people with developmental disabilities. We want to be involved and feel good about having the opportunity to help."
NYSARC, Inc. President John A. Schuppenhauer, who developed the idea of the NYSARC Gives Back President's Project and kicked off the event through a food drive at his local Chapter in Ontario County, couldn't have been happier with the event: "To see and hear these stories of how our employees, the people we support, and their families gave back to the local community really underscores the important role that NYSARC plays in New York State. It is amazing that many non-profits rely on NYSARC volunteers to make their programs possible."
The volunteer efforts do not end with the President's Project: NYSARC Chapters will continue to give back to their local communities as they have done, every year, since the Organization was founded in 1949.
About NYSARC, Inc.
NYSARC, Inc. is the largest not-for-profit organization in New York State and the United States supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families. The 55 Chapters comprising the family-led Organization provide services in every County in New York State. NYSARC, Inc. supports over 60,000 individuals, employs 30,000, and has a membership of nearly 87,000.