Shining a light on kindness and generosity

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Thumbs up: Altamont Community Tradition raised $1,200 for local food pantries — in Altamont, Guilderland, and the Hilltowns — at its holiday Festival of Lights event. Additionally, Jonathan Phillips, owner of Phillips Hardware, raised another $1,545 along with donated food. Each pantry was given $915 and about 600 pounds of food. On Tuesday, the presentation was made to the Altamont Food Pantry. From left are Judy Seery, director of the Altamont pantry; Laura Stone, president of ACT; and ACT board member Phillips with his store’s mascot.

To the Editor:

Although many may feel it is time to focus on 2021 rather than looking back on this most unusual and especially challenging year, I would like to shine a light on something that is well worth looking back on — and that is the kindness and compassion of our community shown during this pandemic.

It’s not a particularly new thing since people here tend to rise to the occasion over and over again, consistently showing kindness and generosity to those in need. Yet, it definitely deserves highlighting.

I cannot imagine there is a single person who hasn’t been affected by this pandemic. People are struggling. Still, they look for ways to help ease the burden of others. Over these past months, people seemed to come out of the woodwork to help in any way they possibly could — individuals, small groups, and larger organizations.

Most recently, Altamont Community Tradition with board member Jon Phillips, owner of Phillips Hardware, organized a food drive as part of the Altamont Festival of Lights celebration. Afterwards, Jon delivered a truckload of food to the Altamont Community Food Pantry as well as the Guilderland Food Pantry and Hilltowns Community Resource Center.

In addition, funds were raised both through ACT and Phillips Hardware, resulting in cash contributions for each pantry. It was fun and heartwarming to watch the community car parade go by and food items being collected during the festival.

The Guilderland Garden Club members used their creative talents and donated beautiful flower arrangements that were given out at Thanksgiving time along with the holiday food from the food pantry. What a nice addition and surprise to brighten the day and lift one’s spirits during these difficult times. The Garden Club also donated food collected during its Holiday Crafts and Wreaths Sale.

We are very grateful that Boy Scout Troop 264 took on the challenge and held its annual food drive on Halloween. Keeping socially distant outside and having food dropped off rather than picked up by the Scouts, it all worked out beautifully.

In August, the Guilderland YMCA joined with the Guilderland Police Department to organize a food drive benefiting the Altamont Community Food Pantry along with the Guilderland, New Scotland, and St. Matthew’s food pantries. Once again, the response from the community was tremendous. It was such a great success that they held a second drive in December, which was an even bigger success!

Cornell Cooperative Extension provided reusable shopping bags filled with healthy recipes and all kinds of kitchen goodies like water bottles, oven mitts, cutting boards, and colanders. These were more surprises added to the holiday food baskets.

This summer, Amy Anderson, manager of the Altamont Fair, started a vegetable garden and donated fresh vegetables. They were harvested just before being distributed. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.

We are fortunate to always have the unfailing support of our area churches and their members who continue to collect food, school supplies, and monetary donations throughout the year. Thank you to the Altamont Reformed, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran, St. Lucy / St. Bernadette, and Helderberg Reformed church communities.

Many other area organizations generously made financial contributions during this pandemic, including the American Legion Helderberg Post 977, Boyd Hilton VFW Post 7062, Capital Area Council of Churches (Crop Walk), First United Methodist Church, Guilderland Central Teachers’ Association, Helderberg Excavating and Trucking, Helderberg Interfaith Community Safe Haven, and NLG Wealth Management.

The outpouring of support from our community has truly been overwhelming. Thanks to the many, many people who donated food, toiletries, household items, holiday turkeys and hams, gift cards, and cash. I apologize if I have not included an organization here today but please know that on behalf of all those served by our food pantry, we greatly appreciate each and every donation.

There is definitely a feeling of gratefulness that warms the heart and equally inspiring is the sense of hope. May that feeling continue in each of us as we keep doing our part to stay safe and keep others safe and continue to show compassion for our neighbors as we enter into 2021.

Judy Seery


Altamont Community

Food Pantry 


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