Adopt-a-Family and do a world of good


MILLERTON — For the past 17 years, Millerton and surrounding communities have worked to assure that, regardless of their financial or social position, families will have a happy and plentiful Christmas holiday.

That’s thanks to the Adopt-a-Family program started by Astor Head Start’s Mariley Najdek and was taken over two years later by businesswoman Stacey Moore. Moore has run the charitable organization and watched it grow to where it now provides new toys and clothes to more than 325 children and a dozen adults in the Harlem Valley region.

"Each year it gets higher and higher," she said. "Not only is the demand growing, but we cover a very large area — Millerton, Pine Plains, Amenia, Ancramdale, Stanfordville and some of Elizaville. It’s really the Webutuck and Pine Plains school districts."

The program provides a "proper holiday season" to so many who otherwise couldn’t afford it, Moore said.

"It’s the economics. The price of fuel oil, everything is going up and it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet," she said. "We work with all of the food banks trying to help the same families that need food throughout the year to make Christmas Christmas."

The program also seeks would be recipients through Astor Head Start, where low-income families send their children for early childhood development. It also taps into other community resources where families in need can sign-up for Adopt-a-Family. Another group that gets into the action, not to receive but to give, is one of local equestrians.

In fact, there are 45 horse farms that have adopted 45 families, through the aid of Louise Meryman, of Treeline Farm of Pine Plains. That means that every one of those 45 families will be provided new, warm clothing and brand new toys and age-appropriate items for all members of the family for the holidays.

"Oh, she’s great, she’s done it now for three to four years, and the number of farms keep increasing," Moore said. "It’s a big factor of us not buying more clothing and toys. It’s kept our ability to give more and grow."

Also making donations this year, as in years past, are the Maplebrook School, the Pine Plains Lions Club and Food Pantry, the Grange, the Millerton Fire Department and American Legion and individuals throughout the community.

"I think as people are getting older, we’re all getting our priorities realigned," Moore said. "We’re not as materialistic about Christmas and we’re choosing to adopt a family and really feeling good about it. Some of us realize we’re more blessed than others and we have our families and want to give to others."

The reason why she’s done so much work to organize the program, year after year?

"Because I know how blessed my life is to not want or need at this point in my life," Moore said. "I’ve always been raised to pay it forward and it’s a great feeling. And anytime I am around or see great people it just makes me feel good because it continues my faith that there’s a lot of good in the world and our little community right here is full of it."

Items that Adopt-a-Family is looking for include: any type of toy for newborns to 16 year olds; make-up, sports gear, arts and crafts; new baby clothing and diapers; blankets and throws for families; board games and books for any age; dolls, trains and trucks; anything to do with Lightening McQueen, Tinkerbell, butterflies or Hannah Montana; music for teenagers; tools for teenage boys; bath and beauty products for teenage girls and adult women; feel-good products; all types of warm clothing, from undergarments to jackets and boots; and please, no electronic games.

"We’re going to try to complete this list the best that we can by the 19th of December," Moore said. "But we do go up to the 11th hour to do so."

Donations can be dropped off at Moore and More Printing, located at 17 Dutchess Ave., Millerton.

Monetary donations may be mailed to Adopt-a-Family, in care of Moore and More Printing, PO Box 880, Millerton, NY 12546. For more information call 518-789-4508. Donations can also be dropped off in Pine Plains. For more information call 518-398-0235.

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