CAPTION: The staff of the Volunteer Transportation Center recently hosted an in-house donation drive to benefit Watertown Urban Mission. Staff accountant Honey Marie Galaydick led the charge to collect 528 items to help those in need this holiday season. Pictured, from left, are Urban Mission executive director Dawn M. Cole, Urban Mission Getting Ahead graduate and facilitator Anthony Lopez, VTC employee Lydia Lloyd, and Ms. Galaydick.
(WATERTOWN, NY) – The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC) has once again collected donations for the Watertown Urban Mission.
The staff of the VTC, over a period of eight weeks, collected donations of nonperishables, pet food and other essentials, totaling 528 items delivered to Watertown Urban Mission. The annual drive was started last year and inspired by the staff’s desire to do something in place of collecting donations for the annual United Way of Northern New York Food Drive, which was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Honey Marie Galaydick, staff accountant for the VTC, led the effort last year – which then collected 460 items – and continued the tradition this year.
“The pandemic has been a very difficult time for everyone. We collected items last year to donate because we thought it would be a great way for the staff at VTC to give back,” said Ms. Galaydick. “We were happy to continue that this year.”
Last year, the effort stemmed from the relationship the VTC already had working with Watertown Urban Mission. Ms. Galaydick credited their community partner for the work they do in the community as the reason.
“Watertown Urban Mission is an organization we have partnered with and they do so much for our communities. I wanted to do something to give back to them,” she said.
The donations last year and this year are greatly appreciated by Watertown Urban Mission, said the organization’s Executive Director, Dawn M. Cole.
“It’s been a tough couple of years, particularly for nonprofit organizations as we face unprecedented need in the communities we serve,” said Ms. Cole. “It means a lot that during these challenging times, our friends at the Volunteer Transportation Center put forth such tremendous effort to support our work in a truly meaningful way.”
“Honey and her merry band of VTC colleagues and friends didn’t simply collect non-perishable food items,” she added. “They put careful consideration into gathering items that are needed but often in short supply at local pantries, things like personal care items, diapers and cleaning products. They even collected food and treats for pets.”
The effort was something both Ms. Cole and Ms. Galaydick said was a shining example of how nonprofits supporting one another makes for a better community.
“Urban Mission stands in awe of the great work of the staff and volunteers of the Volunteer Transportation Center in service to the community,” said Ms. Cole. “We are so very grateful for – and blessed by – the longstanding partnership between our two agencies … and the generous spirit of the VTC crew.”
“I’m so grateful that I work where we’re able to help our community and make a difference in so many lives,” said Ms. Galaydick. “We’re already thinking of ways to make it even bigger next year.”
VTC Executive Director Sam Purington said he was very proud of Ms. Galaydick’s leadership for the collection drive and thankful for the support of the VTC staff and volunteers.
“We have such an amazing staff and such dedicated volunteers who work hard every day to support our mission and help the community,” said Mr. Purington. “It comes as no surprise this year’s drive was even more successful. It’s a great thing to see and a great thing for the people Watertown Urban Mission serves.”
Ms. Cole said those wishing to help local nonprofits like Ms. Galaydick and the Volunteer Transportation Center did for her organization can do so in many ways but “the best gifts come from the heart.”
“When considering a donation to your favorite charity, reach out to them and talk through the greatest areas of need,” she said. “Financial contributions can always be directed to your favorite program area while donations of goods can be tailored in such a way to make the most impact.”
Those wishing to donate to Watertown Urban Mission may reach them at 315-782-8440. Those wishing to donate to the Volunteer Transportation Center may call 315-788-0422, ext. 120.
ABOUT WATERTOWN URBAN MISSION
Working in tandem with community partners, Watertown Urban Mission is non-profit human service organization providing supportive services and advocacy to those who are struggling with generational poverty, addiction, domestic violence, financial setbacks caused by job loss or illness, homelessness, food insecurity, and any other issue that threatens the stability of the home. The goal of the Mission is not only to provide help for today but to instill hope and empower individuals to pursue opportunities for a better tomorrow.
For more information, visit www.watertownurbanmission.com or call 315-782-8440.
ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER TRANSPORTATION CENTER
The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC), established in 1991, drives thousands of miles each year assisting community members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties and beyond. Over the last 30 years, this essential non-profit organization has provided rides to health care appointments, food sources and other critical needs destinations for residents.
In 2020, our volunteer drivers provided 24,926 charitable trips over 913,921 miles in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties. Of those miles, 404,009 originated in Jefferson County, 146,376 in Lewis County, and 363,536 in St. Lawrence County. That amounted to approximately $406,695 in mileage reimbursement issued to volunteer drivers.
The staff, Board of Directors and volunteer drivers look forward to a time when transportation to community activities and services is accessible to all North Country residents regardless of economic or specialized needs. But for now the mission drives on — striving to provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.
For more information about how you can help the Volunteer Transportation Center, about its upcoming events, or to become a volunteer driver, contact the agency in Jefferson and Lewis Counties at 315-788-0422, in St. Lawrence County at 315-714-2034, in Oswego County at 315-694-6644, or Western New York at 585-250-5030. Volunteers drive their own cars, set their own hours and receive mileage reimbursement but, more importantly, make a difference in the community. To learn more, visit www.volunteertransportationcenter.org.