Downtown business owners have partnered with the City Mission and YWCA to collect donations for the little things — not food and coats, but photo frames and sets of plates.
“Survival items, food and coats, are often done,” said DSIC Executive Director Jim Salengo. “Something to enrich their quality of life — like a frame for a family photo — things like that, you wouldn’t normally think to donate.”
Business owners have labeled the items that could be good donations, which customers can purchase and immediately donate through the business. It’s called “Buy Local, Give Local.”
City Mission Executive Director Michael Saccocio said the items will be given to residents who are transitioning into their own apartments, as well as families who are seeking help from City Mission while keeping their own apartments.
“People who are coming to places like City Mission, they’re in all different situations,” he said.
He feels strongly that they need more than just food and shelter.
“Just things that make life a little better,” Saccocio said. “Silverware. Plates.”
And he urged customers to also donate art.
“Things that are beautiful. Beauty matters to all of us,” he said. “That’s an important thing to still be part of their lives.”
At the mission, Saccocio said, the staff tries to keep flowers in summer and hang art in winter to brighten up the residences. “The message we want to send is: You’re important. You matter. You have potential. And we believe in you.”
The Buy Local, Give Local campaign will continue through Dec. 24 at participating downtown businesses, including Lennon’s Irish Shop, Zaria & Bella’s Gift Shop, Majestic Beauty Salon and Open Door Bookstore.
Downtown businesses are also competing in a window-decorating contest, to be judged by passersby. They can vote at participating businesses or the DSIC office, 143 State St.
Those who spend $150 downtown can also enter a contest to win prizes. Participating businesses will stamp a “holiday shopping pass” for each $10 of purchases, and when the pass is full, customers can turn it in to win. They must turn in the card by Dec. 24.
Prizes include a $250 downtown Schenectady shopping spree and a pair of tickets to see “Million Dollar Quartet” at Proctors.