Canastota: Opportunity Shop calls all angels

Angels don't grow on trees but angel "want-to-bes" could pull a name of a needy child off a tree and make that child's Christmas merrier.

The Opportunity Shop's Christmas Angel Program has begun, and according to Op Shop Director Yvonne Alexander the list of children has grown to 200.

"It's about the same as last year," Alexander said. "But we are seeing more people [utilizing] the Food Bank."

Alexander said the program works like this: Donors pick a first name only of a child from the list. The list has the child's clothing sizes and the name of a favorite toy. Now it's off shopping. The shopper wraps the items, checks everything off the list and brings the wrapped presents to the Opportunity Shop. If something wasn't purchased from the list then the Opportunity Shop provides those items.

To make sure all the children receive presents, the Opportunity Shop takes the remaining names of children to area churches and parishioners fill the orders.

The giving doesn't end there.

"I'm going to take the tree down St. Agatha's Church with a list of toiletries for parents," Alexander said. "We will collect those items and make bags for parents with those items. We want to make sure the parents get something."

Filling the Food Bank

Alexander said that during the holidays the Food Bank fills up but the list of hard-to-stock items grows.

"We need anything that won't parish," Alexander said. "Canned goods like tuna fish, and peanut butter and jelly."

"The post office just started a food drive, so that will help," she said. "And two weeks ago the Boy Scouts supplied a big chunk of food. It's wonderful how they help out."

The Opportunity Shop is located at 128 East Center Street. Its hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Christmas.

For more information on the Christmas Angel Program, call 697-3140.

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