GLENVILLE — A diverse group of Schenectady County organizations were honored Thursday with the 2021 Good News Awards.
The Chamber of Schenectady County bestows the awards each year upon businesses, organizations and individuals who have achieved significant growth; occupied a new or newly renovated building; reached a significant anniversary; launched a unique product or service; displayed extraordinary community support; or become a notable success story.
The recipients were:
- The Animal Protective Foundation, a shelter for stray and surrendered pets from a 14-county area that is 90 years old and still growing. The APF remained in operation through the pandemic, switching to virtual meet-and-greets for cat adoptions and curbside for dogs, and creating a pet behavior hotline to support pet owners who needed help keeping their companion animals at home amid the upheaval in everyday life.
- BelGioioso Cheese, founded in 1979 by an Italian immigrant and grew to eight manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin. One of the secrets to the company’s award-winning cheese is fresh milk, provided by dairy farms within 40 miles of each facility, including the brand-new 100,000-square-foot plant it opened in Glenville this year.
- Community Fathers, a nonprofit that has built a network with various community social service agencies, churches, and legal services and governmental agencies to deliver social services to those who need help. The multigenerational approach includes The Learn to Earn program, Domestic Violence Offender Accountability Program, Fathers Reentry Program, Community Fathers Drug Court Group, the Male Achievers High School Program and the Young Fathers Visitation Program.
- The Ellis Medicine COVID Care Team, which rose to meet the challenge of caring for hundreds of community members hospitalized with a potentially deadly virus amid the community’s greatest public health crisis in a century. The award is not for one person but a team greater than the sum of its parts, that provided compassion as well as expert medical care.
- More Perreca’s, the restaurant attached to the landmark bread bakery in the Little Italy neighborhood, was cited for adapting to survive. Maria Perreca Papa, granddaughter of the bakery’s founders, carries on the tradition but has added a burst of innovation to the business built around a century-old coal-fired bread oven.
- The Open Door Bookstore, a supporter of literacy and arts in the community. The independent and locally owned merchant stocks a variety of literature for adults and children and a selection of toys, gifts and jewelry.
- The Schenectady Trading Company, offering something for everyone, from groceries and gifts to souvenirs. Its focus on locally produced and locally focused goods is meant to foster connections within the community and bring visibility to other small businesses here.
Also celebrated Thursday was the 100-year business anniversary of the Sgarlata Family, which opened in Schenectady in 1921 and now operates River Stone Manor in Glenville, where the Good News Awards were presented.
“The Chamber of Schenectady County is honored to salute these individuals, businesses and organizations who are making a positive impact,” said Capital Region Chamber President and CEO Mark Eagan. “Especially due to the challenges of the past year, it’s terrific to come together to recognize and celebrate difference-makers in our community.”
The Chamber of Schenectady County is an affiliate of the Capital Region Chamber, an organization with 2,900 members that employ 160,000 people mainly in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties.