In Orange County we are exceptionally fortunate to have a caring community of people who are committed to the County where they live and work. Following Super Storm Sandy, many Orange County Government employees asked how they might be able to help those left devastated by the storm. To show our support for those left in harm’s way, Orange County Government hosted a "casual for a cause" dress down day on Friday, November 9th to raise money for the American Red Cross. Employees were encouraged to make a $5 donation and dress down, preferably in red, to demonstrate their support for the Red Cross for the work they were doing in our County, as well as elsewhere in New York and New Jersey. I was proud to see so many members of Team Orange sporting red that day – more than $1,500 has been raised for the Red Cross so far, and more money continues to come in each day.
In that same spirit of giving, Team Orange does a great job of supporting the Orange County Youth Bureau’s annual Adopt-a-Family program and we invite community members to get involved as well. For more than 20 years the Orange County Youth Bureau has coordinated its annual Adopt-a-Family for the holiday’s program.
Each year, local non-profit children and family service agencies and schools provide the Youth Bureau with a list of families in need. Each list includes the first name, age, and sizes of the family members, along with a list of possible gift suggestions. County departments, community organizations, businesses, and individuals then adopt a family of the size that fits their budget and ability to support. Often times church groups, scout troops, and others will join together in adopting a family so that they can do even more to help those in need in our community. Many supplement their family’s gifts with holiday food baskets and gift cards to make the holidays even brighter.
As many as 100 families are "adopted" each year. This year, in the wake of Sandy and the continued economic difficulties, Orange County Youth Bureau Director Carol Chichester expects the need to be greater than ever. Carol and I sincerely hope that those who can, will choose to share their good fortune with others this holiday season. To find out more, or to adopt-a-family, call the Youth Bureau Office at 615-3620.
Please also remember our veterans during the holiday season. The Orange County Veterans Food Pantry now provides food and assistance to nearly 200 veterans and their families. If you’d like to volunteer, donate non-perishable food and household items, or make a monetary gift, please contact Veterans Service Agency Director Tony Zippo at 291-2464.
I wish you all the best for a joyous beginning to the holiday season.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.