Holiday time is a busy time, with festivities and shopping jammed into lives already filled with work, traffic, taking care of kids and making sure dinner is on the table at night.
For one day during the holiday season since 2006, Dining for Dollars has helped make the lives of Schenectady County residents easier by delivering cooked meals to their doorsteps.
This year, the meal deliveries will take place between 5 and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16. After filling out an online form — specifying the number of people per meal order — participants just have to turn on their porch light and wait for their food to arrive. Along with their meal, participants receive an envelope in which an amount of their choosing can be donated to support community nonprofits.
DINING FOR DOLLARS
For more information on the fundraiser and to fill out an order form, visit the Unitarian Universalist Society’s website here.
“It all happens right in your house. You can put on your PJs and watch TV or you can invite friends and have a party,” notes the fundraiser’s webpage.
Although Dining for Dollars helps residents on a local level during a hectic time of the year, the goal of the fundraiser is on a much larger scale: to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief.
Although Katrina has been out of sight and out of mind for many people, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady has been involved with recovery efforts since the storm.
When Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The storm killed more than 1,400 people and left the region in a state of disaster. Since then, progress to rebuild has been made, but there is still a long way to go, according to Ellie von Wellsheim, creator of the Dining for Dollars fundraiser.
“Disasters don’t go away in six months,” von Wellsheim said. “They need our help now more than ever.”
After sitting down with a friend one night shortly after Hurricane Katrina, von Wellsheim decided she needed to do something to help storm victims. In addition to taking volunteers to New Orleans to rebuild, she started Dining for Dollars through Schenectady’s Unitarian Universalist Society.
Volunteers gather at the society’s kitchen to cook vegetarian lasagna, garlic bread, salad and dessert and deliver it directly to participants’ homes across 11 zip codes throughout Schenectady and Saratoga counties.
“People are crazy busy during the holidays,” and that adds to the success of the fundraiser, von Wellsheim said.
Since the first batches of lasagna were delivered by 45 volunteers in 2006, the reaction from the community has been overwhelming.
Some people invite friends over for the delivered dinner, von Wellsheim said. “All you have to do is supply the wine,” she said, laughing.
Each year, the fundraiser collects about $8,000, a number von Wellsheim would love to see grow.
Although Hurricane Katrina has become just a memory for many people, for those on the Gulf Coast, destruction has remained a reality. Van Wellsheim has remained with them throughout this reality.
When she goes to New Orleans with the volunteers to rebuild, she often asks people what she can do to help them.
“Please tell people to not forget about us,” they say.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County