MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — One-half of the gymnasium at the Boys & Girls Club in Mount Kisco isn’t being used for basketball and capture the flag this week. It has temporarily been turned over to the Junior League of Northern Westchester as a storage and distribution center for the league's 32nd annual Holiday Sharing Drive.
From Saturday to Monday, the gym filled quickly with holiday donations of food, clothes and gifts. By Monday's end, the league, a nonprofit women’s volunteer organization based in Chappaqua, had collected donations for 891 people from a total of 177 neighbors, schools, Scout troops, book clubs and other groups.
Representatives of Pound Ridge Elementary School came in Monday with goods for 20 families, while Chappaqua’s Westorchard Elementary brought in food and gifts for 25 families, Simpson said.
The drive, one of the Junior League's signature annual events, delivers items to more than 250 Westchester families. The campaign allows people to sponsor a specific family and then prepare a holiday gift package based on that family’s designated needs.
"Most of the families we have have children, but we also do a few group homes," said drive co-chair Jennifer Simpson, who led the effort with co-chair Cristina Hopper.
This year, league members collected bikes, cribs, toddler beds, futons and other big-ticket items like high chairs and car seats – "things we all take for granted," Simpson said.
At minimum, the family packages include the makings for a holiday dinner or a grocery store gift card, along with a gift for each family member. Some people supplement their packages with additional toys and food, as well as toiletries, clothing and other daily necessities.
Starting Tuesday, moving trucks will arrive at the club at 351 E. Main St. for the first pickup. Over the next few days, volunteers from Neighbors Link will help load trucks to deliver the packages to 17 agencies, which then distribute them to the families on their lists.
Some of the participating agencies include Hope's Door, Neighbors Link, the Mount Kisco Child Care Center, A-HOME, and Head Start programs in Putnam, Yorktown and Mount Kisco. Simpson said the Junior League begins communicating with these agencies over the summer, asking for head counts and items on family wish lists.
On Tuesday, Simpson said, she is looking forward to seeing everything finally get carted away. With the arrival of that first delivery truck, the generosity of the community will truly begin to pay off for families in need.