KATONAH, N.Y—The competitive feelings Black Friday brings to people’s mindsets is certainly undeniable. If you have trouble believing so, just check out your local department stores at 4:00AM on Friday, looking at thousands of people so eager to buy for and please the other.
The other is the central figure on Black Friday, but in the Community Center of Northern Westchester, they are hoping you can focus on the “others” you’ve never met before. This late fall and winter, the center is running simultaneous programs aimed at helping local families in need receive necessary items throughout the tough months.
The Holiday Share program asks for locals to bring in items like roaster chickens, turkey breasts and whole turkeys, while also submitting ingredients like flour, sugar, coffee, tea bags, cookies, and cake mixes. Sherry Wolf, the executive director of the center, reminds us that those in need rarely have the opportunity to have life’s luxuries such as cakes or cookies after meals.
“As much as we all enjoy sweets, it is much more efficient to only buy food that is the sustenance,” Wolf said. “They are also ingredients for the December holidays, which everyone celebrates differently, so these are the goods with which you make your own sweets and festive foods.”
Along with Holiday Share, Share the Warmth is the added program this year. Wolf is asking residents around the area to bring in new and unopened pajama wear for kids aged 1-18, as the winter months bring along cold nights for adults and children. The center does receive some sleepwear, Wolf explained, but they cannot hand them out as they cannot wash them. Instead, they hand them over to other organizations.
While giving warmth is the major draw, Wolf also believes the act of giving a future gift is something special.
“They’re new with the tags on, so there’s this sensation for the holidays that our clients have that their children will get something brand new that isn’t a hand me down,” she explained.
And even if the pajamas do not get given away in total, the sleepwear will eventually find a deserving home.
“The really nice thing about these drives is whatever we don’t get to distribute, we slowly give out over the cold winter months,” she said. “Nothing goes to waste.”