In Schenectady and Albany, a local group that serves inner-city communities partnered with Schenectady City police and many volunteers around Christmas to give out toys and other gifts to children from families in need. The annual “Random Santa Dropoff” event by the group Save Our Streets was more than just a giveaway; it was a holiday celebration, complete with volunteers emerging from a school bus with toys, to police cars with their sirens and lights on, to volunteers delivering pizzas in low-income housing units and even handing out gifts to random passersby in the streets. Among the locations they visited on Christmas Eve day were Yates Village and Steinmetz Homes. Organizers said they had hoped to reach 1,000 people this year with their holiday cheer.
In Schenectady, the estate of one-time Schenectady Mayor Karen Johnson recently donated $2.5 million to five local nonprofits. The awards, announced by Johnson’s sons Kent and Eric Johnson in November, will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, Proctors, the Schenectady Foundation, SUNY Schenectady County Community College and YWCA of NorthEastern NY. Each will receive more than $500,000 from the estate.
Johnson, the city’s first and only female mayor, died in June at the age of 77 at her home in the Stockade following a long illness. Johnson was a regular and generous supporter of local organizations during her lifetime.
In Saratoga Springs, local golf legend Dottie Pepper recently paid off the school lunch debt of more than 50 students at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School in Wilton, where she attended elementary school. Pepper would not say how much money she donated, but said she had a good year and that the debt didn’t need to be “sitting there, burdening people.”
Update: As part of its holiday effort to support Concerned for The Hungry, the Twin Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America, has now collected and contributed a total of 65,000 items of food, an effort that involved 986 Scouts and 739 parents.
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High Notes is a Monday feature of The Gazette Opinion section spotlighting the good being done in our communities by individuals, organizations, schools and colleges, and businesses. If you know of anyone who should be celebrated, send your suggestions for High Notes to Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney at [email protected]