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Bells Toll For A Good Cause

Perhaps no one symbol of the generous spirit of the season is more iconic than the bell ringers of the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” brigades. These hardy fundraisers brave winter’s chill outside grocery stores and shops, a reminder to holiday shoppers that charity may begin at home, but it doesn’t end there.

In Garden City, the Mineola-Garden City Rotary Club, along with student volunteers from the Rotaract and Key clubs at Garden City High School, are taking the lead in supplying Red Kettle volunteers.

Students and individual volunteers will be manning the bells on Friday afternoon and Saturday,” “The generosity of this community is overwhelming,” says Robert Schoelle, Garden City’s village administrator who also happens to be president of the rotary, has lent his bell ringing skills to the cause for more than 25 years. “People really step up and give for the Salvation Army.” He praised the “kindness of King’s Market” at Franklin Ave. and 9th St., for hosting them.

Schoelle won’t be dressed up in reindeer antlers or a Santa hat, but, he notes dryly, “my red nose prevails throughout my duty.” While the volunteers are scheduled to work in teams, “many’s the hour I’ve stood alone,” he says. It’s not as effective for fundraising.

The support of lively, engaged volunteers is critical to the success of the Red Kettle drive, and especially this year, with the Christmas season shortened by a late Thanksgiving holiday compounding larger economic pressures. Music and youth, experienced volunteers know, boost donations. “When you add music to a Kettle, the giving is enhanced exponentially,” explains Major Philip Wittenberg of the Salvation Army’s Hempstead Citadel Corps. “And if there are small children, it really warms people’s hearts.”

The wintry chill isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either, when you’re trying to raise money. “People have more sympathy when you’re standing in the cold,” says Bill Moseley, a Salvation Army advisory board member who has been working the Red Kettle—often with his guitar, because it brings in “two to three times the donations”—for 25 years.

Garden City’s volunteers have experimented with venues for their red kettles. Outside a bar at happy hour turned out less lucrative than expected, and while they do put unmanned kettles into businesses such as banks, those don’t draw as much money as kettles with humans ringing the bells.

Although schools and civic organizations take the lead in providing bell-ringers, the organization easily accommodates solo volunteers as well.

“We get individuals that call and say ‘I want to teach my kids about service. Can we ring the bell for three hours at Roosevelt Field?’ and we always say ‘yes’,” explains Major Wittenberg. “With lots of people it has almost become a tradition.”

Dave Gil de Rubio contributed to this article.

News

Garden City’s Gregory Burke recently donated $25,000 to help fund Mercy Medical Center’s brand new pediatric Express Care Unit. A benefactor to numerous organizations, Burke was so impressed with the quality of care given by Mercy’s medical and nursing staff, he decided to assist the hospital in this initiative.

“A significant proportion of the patients seen in Express Care are children. Thanks to Mr. Burke’s generosity, families will get the immediate care they deserve,” said Mercy Vice President of Finance and Chief Operating Officer Ron Steimel. “This new unit is an expression of the hospital’s commitment to providing the highest quality services to our community.”

The expansion of the pediatric Express Care program is part of Mercy’s ongoing effort to address the needs of underserved communities, including individuals and families who may not have a personal physician.

Michael Stano named to Master Teacher program

Michael Stano of Garden City High School has been named a New York State Master Teacher by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The Master Teacher Program creates a community of teacher experts dedicated to providing a first-rate learning experience for students across New York, and contributes to our efforts to attract and retain the best and the brightest in our STEM classrooms,” Cuomo said.


Sports

Registration For The Community Garden Begins

If you are interested in obtaining a plot in Garden City Recreation and Parks’ Community Garden, it is now time to register. Applications will be accepted until May 1. Plots will then be assigned for planting around May 10. If more applications are received than the number of plots available, all applications will be put in a lottery and winners will be notified.

Spring/Summer Adult Tennis Registration Forms Available

The Garden City Recreation Department will conduct evening tennis lessons for adults who are residents of the Inc. Village of Garden City at the Community Park tennis facility. The lessons will run for one hour each week in three sessions during the spring/summer months. The registrant has a choice of a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday class and a choice of time. There will be a maximum of four players per court. The dates and fees will be as follows:

Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5

The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This Year Three hunt will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.

Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.


Calendar

Going To The Birds (Sanctuary)

Saturday, April 26

Nassau Coaches Meet

Saturday, April 26

Making A Beautiful Noise

Friday, May 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com