Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
It takes a great deal of organization to run the annual Holiday Sharing Program of CSAC, the Community Social Action Committee. Rows of cardboard boxes were set up on tables in the Parish Hall of First Presbyterian Church on Sunday night, Nov. 24. One hundred sets of boxes, that fit just right at two boxes per family, were in the process of being filled with the makings of Thanksgiving dinners on Monday, Nov. 25. The CSAC Holiday Sharing Program offers food certificates or food baskets to needy families and individuals living in the OB-EN community through community support, in an inter-religious community effort working with local agencies, churches and schools to identify those in need.
The boxes were assembled and set up on Sunday night by Oyster Bay High School students. Co-chair Randy Daub didn’t take any credit, saying, “We call one guy and he gets the kids to come set up the boxes.” After running the event for the past 15 years, he and his wife, Carol, both St. Dominic R.C. parishioners, have a handle on the process that has been in motion for many years.
A regular at the event over the years was Joseph Ferraro, Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District administrator. Daub said, “I just spoke to Joe Ferraro. He just had a gall bladder operation and is in the hospital and doing very well.” He and Ferraro used to relax with a cigar, outside the Parish Hall after all the boxes were filled and before the boxes were picked up later in the day. The Italian-American Citizens Club members help carry the boxes to people picking up the foodstuffs on Tuesday night. “They also donate turkeys,” Daub added.
Families also get fresh produce for the dinners. The produce arrives by truck at First Presbyterian on Friday afternoon and it is set up in the front of the church for Sunday worship, as a reminder to parishioners that were are making a difference in the community, said the Rev. Jeffrey Prey, who also helps out during the Holiday Sharing Program. “We had 500 pounds of produce: apples, potatoes, carrots and onions; enough for 100 families. It is donated by a man who says, ‘Keep it on the Q.T.,’” explained the pastor while not giving away the name.
On Monday, Carol and Randy Daub arrived at the Parish Hall at 9 a.m. “We opened the doors for the schools to bring in their donations. There were kids from BOCES high school; East Woods School, Harbor Heights; and the officers of the Vernon Student Council.” On Tuesday, other schools brought in their donations: Friends Academy, Portledge, and Oyster Bay High School students volunteered to help sort the foodstuffs into the boxes. Local individuals also come annually to help with the work. In the Parish Hall, best friends Oyster Bay High School students: Andrew Butler, seventh grade and a Christ Church parishioner; and Gus Girardi, a seventh-grader and a parishioner of St. Dominic R.C.C. were sorting the foodstuffs and putting them into the boxes on Monday afternoon.
The turkeys arrive on Tuesday. The Italian-Americans donated a large number of the frozen turkeys; others will be purchased at Shop Rite. Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. he was going through the cash register line at Stop & Shop leading a worker pushing a hand-truck with boxes of frozen turkeys for the food drive.
Everything is so coordinated for the event, that Randy Daub was able to take the empty cartons the donations came in and put them in the dumpster outside in the parking lot, that the Presbyterian Church had ordered to carry away the refuse from their Victorian Fair.
Co-chair Carol Daub said, “The number of people needing assistance in our affluent community is real and very disturbing. There are over 100 families and over 50 individuals who are in dire need of help. I just got a request for a family where both parents just lost their jobs: they have no income, no insurance, nothing. The program in this small community in our zip code area, is helped confidentially.”
If you would like to help in the Holiday Sharing Program, you can mail a donation to: C.S.A.C. Holiday Sharing Program, Box 231, Oyster Bay, New York 11771. The program continues for the Christmas season, too. “Let us not fail those less fortunate than ourselves,” said Carol and Randy Daub.