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Region 8 hosts drive-thru donation day for personal care items


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to put immense pressure on food banks and charitable organizations as unemployed and low-income New Yorkers rely on them for everything from food to paper towels to soap.

PEF Region 8 Coordinator Mike Blue and Region 8 Charitable Giving Committee Chairwoman Sheryl Sperry set up a collection drive-thru event at PEF Headquarters in Latham on September 26 to gather personal care items for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

PEF Retiree Pat Coonrod and USW 9265 members Gary Cunningham and Danielle Thompson joined them, taking donated items from cars and organizing items in boxes for the food bank. PEF Vice President Sharon DeSilva also stopped by.

“There was an OK turnout,” Blue said. “We are happy that even though we didn’t see a tremendous number of donations in person we had approximately $2,000 donated through our designated event link prior to the conclusion of the event that day.”

The link will remain active through the end of October. Access it here: The Care Necessities.

During the six hours the drive-thru was open, Region 8 received around 2,000 pounds of donations.

“We were told the items donated would fill a pallet,” Blue said.

Personal care items are in high demand, Blue said.

“When we spoke with the folks from the food bank they explained that they are struggling to acquire these supplies,” he said. “That even if they have the money to buy the items, they are not always able to source them. That’s when we decided this might be the best way to help.”

Region 8 has long supported the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

“The food bank has seen its level of service climb exponentially since the start of the pandemic,” Blue said. “They have done dozens of drive-thru food pantry days throughout the Capital District over the course of the last few months. The need for help in our communities is staggering.”

PEF Region 8 members traditionally support the food bank though participation in a collection drive at Crossgates Mall, The Holiday Hunger Appeal, or through the Region’s annual donation to the food bank based on the co-pay of members attending the regional holiday party, Blue added.

Feedback from participants was positive.

“People were very happy to be able to contribute to help others,” Blue said. “There were many who thanked us for holding the event.”