Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 11 December 2009 00:00This year the cardboard boxes set up in the parish hall of the First Presbyterian Church, ready for the annual Holiday Sharing program, were not overflowing, as has been the practice over the past 25 years. The foodstuffs are items donated by the public; but this year, the donations were down, said Carol Daub, who co-chairs the annual Interreligious and Human Needs Council’s Holiday Sharing Program run by their Community Social Action Committee (CSAC) with her husband Randy.
Randy Daub said, “This year it wasn’t so much that there were more people to help but that the donations were down. But we’re fine. The Italian-American club raised money for the turkeys. The Masons, Rotary and the Lions all came through so they helped us out big time. Food donations were down but it was not something unexpected.
“Still people will get gift certificates and food so they will all get what they need.” Some smaller families can’t handle a big turkey and instead are able to buy what is appropriate for themselves.
This year there were some changes in the Holiday Sharing Program. Kris Lalonde, the First Presbyterian Church secretary took over for Shirlee Gerstein of the Youth and Family Counseling Agency of Oyster Bay-East Norwich in organizing the names of families and the number of adults and children in each one so that each received what they needed. Retired OBEN school administrator Joe Ferraro was not there. Last year he announced that it was his last time helping in the annual food and toy drives because he and his wife were moving upstate to be with their son.
Mr. Daub said, “He called last night (Monday, Nov. 23) He was my buffer, there all the time for me. I miss him. There was a big dinner at the Coach Grill for him when he left for upstate.”
Mr. Ferraro was presented with a Mort Künstler print of TR in the Fourth of July Parade, waving as he drove by in a car in front of the Moore’s building. “He loved it. He was thrilled with it,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Prey of the First Presbyterian Church and the co-president of the IRHNC.
“This year again the children from Oyster Babies came to donate food. They have a good time. The kids really enjoy bringing in things for the food and toy drive,” said Randy. “Carol and I look forward to doing this each year. Working in church with the kids –it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
The First Presbyterian Church parish hall was decorated for their Victorian Fair they held the weekend before. “A lot of people were here all the time. There was a good spirit to it and it went very well,” said Rev. Prey. He and Randy Daub were seated in a cozy area of the parish hall where two red couches and tables have been set up as an intimate area for the church’s coffee hours. It was donated to the church and ended up being used to make the hall more comfortable said Rev. Prey.
Mr. Daub said the East Woods School students make their own special contribution of toiletries to the families. They package items such as toothbrushes and soap for the families. Each family receives two cartons of food and a bag of fixings for the turkey dinner as well as the toiletries.
That evening, said Mr. Daub, the Italian-American members would be at the church to help bring food out to the parents. To pick up the grocery items, families bring down their CSAC letter, give it to the co-chairs and they find their packages. The person picks up a turkey and goes out the other door, being helped to fill their car with the foodstuffs.
Randy Daub was reminiscing. “At the end of the day, at about 4 p.m. Joe Ferarro and I always had a cigar. I promised him last night that I’d have a cigar,” and he did, sitting on the wooden bench in the little garden outside the door to the parish hall.
The afternoon ended with talk of the wild turkeys spotted at the Hess gas station on the corner of Lexington Avenue and Pine Hollow Road. “There were two sitting on the pumps. We took pictures and laughed so hard. So many people were taking snapshots,” said Cindy.
Rob Brusca tells a story in his Oyster Bay-East Norwich community calendar on the Internet of a young girl about 12, scooping up the turkeys and putting them into her mother’s SUV and driving them to safety. Wild turkeys were spotted all over the area in the days before Thanksgiving. They found a haven by the harbor.
The second phase of the Holiday Sharing Program is the toy drive. The Daubs said, “This year, we are gearing up to provide toys for a larger number of children. With your generous support, this important program will continue to be a success!”
Please send you donation to: I.H.N.C. Holiday Toy Drive; P.O. Box 231; Oyster Bay, NY 11771.
All toy donations must be new and unwrapped and delivered to: The First Presbyterian Church; 60 East Main Street; Oyster Bay on Monday, Dec. 21 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Tuesday, Dec. 22 from 9 a.m. to noon. The toys are assembled for the children by age. Parents pick up the toys and wrapping paper so that they can personalize the gifts in time for Christmas giving.