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Four Years of Trevor’s Gift

Trevor’s Gift has completed its fourth year of providing food in the backpacks of hungry children in Waterloo during the school year. Chair Doris Wolf said the program has distributed more than 22,000 food packets so far. “We are so grateful to the businesses, organizations and people of Waterloo who faithfully provide the funds to feed our children. The incredible generosity of the people of Waterloo never ceases to amaze us,” she said.This summer, a donation from the Waterloo Youth Bureau will provide funds to feed 200 more children. Families may sign up to receive Trevor’s Gift at the Skoi Yase School summer reading program, the Waterloo Community Center or the Waterloo Library. Food will be available at each site on Thursdays.“We thank Director Mike Whirtley of the Seneca County Youth Bureau for making it possible to expand our program to include children in the Skoi Yase summer reading program,” said Trevor’s Gift co-chair Kaaren Gerlach. “It is extremely important to make Trevor’s Gift available to children in the summer when they don’t have access to the breakfast and lunch programs at school.”Wolf said the program was blessed to receive help from some other special sources this year. For example, friends and family of Ann Kaminski donated funds in honor of her retirement. When committee member Walter Wolf’s sister, Linda Strassberg, passed away in June, her children requested that memorial contributions be sent to Trevor’s Gift.“We chose to ask for contributions to Trevor’s Gift because it would have more of an impact than to a national charity,” explained her daughter, Stacy Wright, who is the mother of Trevor Wright, for whom the program is named.Mark Benjamin of Seneca Meadows arranged for two workers to come to the Waterloo Baptist Church each month to pack food into the totes that are used to deliver Trevor’s Gift to the schools. “Kaaren and I find it difficult to lift the totes and boxes of food,” Wolf explained, “so the workers are a Godsend.”Extreme couponer Tammy Brockway set a goal of collecting enough full-size boxes of cereal so that every student in pre-kindergarten and Skoi Yase school could receive one at the end of school. She not only met that goal, she exceeded it, providing cereal for LaFayette students as well. In addition, she donated boxes of fruit juice, fruit snacks and cans of vegetables. She also asks people attending her couponing classes to bring donations of food or cash for Trevor’s Gift. The food was used to fill an extra bag for each student at the end of the school year.Finger Lakes Young Professionals held a gourmet dinner at Knapp Winery to benefit Trevor’s Gift. Wadhams Trucking and John Butlak of Rite Aid provided snack bars and other treats for the kids regularly and Marty Grela and the American Legion Riders collected food that was distributed to the school nurses to have on hand for hungry children. And the kids who attend the Waterloo Rec Center donated the proceeds from their penny carnival to Trevor’s Gift to help their fellow students.“Once we realized the need, we knew we had to help,” said Recreation Center Director Mike Slywka.As they have from the outset, high school students in the Waterloo Rotary Interact Club purchased and packed an extra bag of food for the students at Christmas, and the angels of the Waterloo Fire Department Auxiliary sent a check each month to feed a child for the school year.“We are always humbled by the many ways people find to help feed our children,” Wolf said. “It truly takes a village.” She added that all contributions sent to Trevor’s Gift are used to purchase food for Waterloo children. “No one receives any pay or reimbursement for expenses,” Wolf said.Staff in each of the schools receive and distribute the bags of food in the backpacks of an average of 140 kids each week and the committee’s faithful drivers – Don Peters, John King, Caren Cleaveland and Jim Patsos – deliver the totes of food to the schools each week.The bags of food are purchased from Foodlink in Rochester at a cost of $5 per bag. It costs $20 to feed a child for a month and $200 to feed a child for a school year. Linda Wadhams of the Waterloo Education Foundation volunteers as treasurer for the program. Tax deductible contributions may be sent to Waterloo Education Foundation, Main Street Shop Center. Waterloo 13165.

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