By John B. SnyderDecember 21, 2012
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- The Watervliet Arsenal heard the community's call for support this holiday season and it responded, as it has for nearly 200 years, with workers reaching deep into their pockets to provide support to hundreds of Albany-area children, as well as to national non-profit organizations. The Arsenal raised nearly $60,000 in the way of cash, toys, and clothes for the Troy Salvation Army, City of Watervliet Head Start Program, and for the Combined Federal Campaign.
"This was our 23rd year of collecting toys for the Troy Salvation Army and by far it was our best year in recent memory," said Tim Ostrowski, the union president of the National Federation of Federal Employees Local 2109 that operates on the Arsenal. "We thought that we did well last year having collected 600 toys, but this year's efforts provided the Troy Salvation Army more than 700 toys and a $400 check for the community's children."
Maj. Paula Loveless, from the Troy Salvation Army, said that they were in serious trouble this year until the Arsenal stepped in.
"About 10 days ago, we had 875 kids to support and only 40 of those were covered by donations," Loveless said. "I told my husband that we weren't going to make it."
"The Arsenal's donation was unbelievable and we can't thank them (Arsenal workforce) enough for taking the time to shop for such beautiful gifts for the kids," Loveless said.
Loveless added that the community has also stepped forward in the last few days to help them out and that nearly all the children will be provided for this holiday season. She said that others have recently come forward and that they are on a waiting list for support.
NFFE Local 2109 spearheaded the Salvation Army collection on the Watervliet Arsenal.
The Arsenal's Historical Society and the Federal Managers Association sponsored the City of Watervliet Head Start Holiday Program this year, having supported 18 families, which included 46 kids. Arsenal employees selected one or more children from a list and then shopped for clothing and toys for the kids. The added, personal touch here is that each gift was personally wrapped, as if it was a gift for one of their family members.
The Arsenal also closed out its Combined Federal Campaign this month.
Arsenal CFC Coordinator Shannon Lischak announced to the workforce that through their efforts the Arsenal was able to raise nearly $46,000 for the 2012 campaign.