ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — For the past three decades, SEFCU employees have rallied together to support individuals and families in need during the holiday season through SEFCU’s annual Holiday Sharing Program. Some employees have spent their Wednesday morning loading hundreds of gifts into cars.
This program is funded annually by SEFCU and donations from employees and members that are used to provide people and families with presents and essentials, including warm clothing, cookware, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. “A lot of times instead of the latest electronics or the latest toys, they’re asking for underwear and for socks. It’s the necessities of life that we all take for granted and these kids all are all putting it on their Christmas list,” said SEFCU President and CEO Michael Castellana.
Teams of SEFCU employees wrap all the gifts and prepare them for pickup or delivery to 75 nonprofit organizations that distribute them. This year, more than 3,500 individuals will be supported through the Holiday Sharing Program, and SEFCU will donate more than $200,000 worth of gifts to people in the Capital Region, Buffalo, Binghamton, and Syracuse.
Tom Schreck is with Wildwood Programs, an organization based in the Capital Region that provides supports and services to people of all ages with developmental disabilities, complex learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders. Schreck says each year the holiday sharing program always puts smiles on faces. “Picture yourself maybe a 40- or 50-year-old adult with a disability and think how lonely and sad the holidays can be if there’s nothing there for you. Then you get a bright, wrapped gift of something you asked for – think of the joy that brings. It’s not just the item, it’s knowing the community cares for you,” said Wildwood Programs Director of Communications Tom Schreck. “The love that pours out from what SEFCU does is unbelievable. For an organization like ours, it means so much.”