We are blessed to be living in such a generous community

— Photo from Maryellen Gillis

The Helderberg Hearts and Hands Club packed 120 stockings to give to active-duty military members.

To the Editor:

As we celebrate the New Year, the Helderberg Family and Community Organization would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2022. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the many volunteers, supporters, organizations, and businesses who have supported our efforts to enrich the lives of our neighbors and friends throughout the past year.

With your support, the HFCO sponsored two food drives in 2021. These two drives combined raised a total of $3,200 in monetary donations and collected over 2,000 food items. These donations, in their entirety, were used to support the Rock Road Chapel Holiday Outreach, Hugs From the Hilltowns, the Switzkill Valley Volunteers Little Food Pantries, Hilltowns Community Resource Center, and the Town of Westerlo Fire Department Auxiliary’s Easter Outreach.

We would like to thank all who donated, packed, and delivered the food items. Thank you also to Altamont Agway, East Berne True Value Hardware, P and L Deli, and the Fox Creek Market for serving as drop-off locations. We also would like to acknowledge two generous grants to our food drives from Thrivent Financial Services.

Nearly 200 young people participated in our summer and fall programming. In July of 2021, HFCO offered two week-long art camps and a week-long soccer camp. The fall of 2021 saw our fall soccer program mark its highest participation level ever of children learning to dribble, pass, shoot, and score.

Thank you to all our volunteer coaches, coordinators, and workshop presenters who gave so willingly of their time and talents. Our summer and fall programming was supported by the generosity of the Stewart’s Shops Holiday Match Grant and the Target Corporation.

The 2021 holiday season brought unprecedented generosity to our holiday outreach. With your overwhelming support, the Helderberg Hearts and Hands Club (a HFCO youth-based community service group) packed 120 stockings and Christmas cards to our active-duty military.

In addition, multiple boxes of snacks were sent to Berne-Knox-Westerlo graduate and Marine Staff Sergeant Brandon Galgay. Brandon is currently serving overseas, and he gladly served as our Santa, passing out cards and snacks from his hometown to his fellow Marines.

Thank you to the many individuals who sponsored a stocking and to the students, parents, grandparents, and community volunteers who helped to pack the stockings and to the BKW and Helderberg Christian students who signed and wrote words of encouragement on the cards to send overseas.

Our deepest appreciation goes to the Knox Volunteer Fire Company, Berne Masonic Lodge, Schoharie Valley Veterinary Clinic, Huskalars MC, Voorheesville American Legion, Helderberg Kiwanis Club, Helderberg American Legion, and Mountainview Prosthetics for their support of our endeavors to honor our active-duty military with a small gesture of appreciation of their service.

The Festival of Trees, Breakfast with Santa, and Adopt a Family Program also marked their highest participation this year. Thank you to all who sponsored a tree, participated in our lighting ceremony, joined us for breakfast with a jolly Santa, and supported families with gifts this Christmas.

We thank our business sponsors: Helderberg Mountain Brewing Company, The Great Outdoors Land Surveying Company, CN Tommell Cattle Company, Boyd Hilton VFW Post, Maple on the Lake, Leanne Royer, Real Estate, CW Whalen, Stewart’s Shops, and John Finke. Your generosity brought much joy to our community and for that, we thank you.

Achieving our mission would not be possible without the support of Pastors Greg and Becky Town and the Knox/Thompson Lake Reformed Church communities. They welcomed us three years ago with open arms and have supported us throughout our growth as an organization.

It is an impossible task to thank, by name, everyone who has supported the HFCO this year.  Please know that we truly appreciate your support and consider ourselves to be blessed to be living in such a generous community.

We look forward to 2022 and continuing to connect children with caring adults. I invite you to visit our website (www.helderbergfco) for more information about us and our mission to support our local communities and their families. New members and supporters are always welcome.

Wishing you many blessings in the New Year.

Maryellen Gillis


Helderberg Family and

Community Organization

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