Skidmore Cares kickoff
"They not only collect the donations, but deliver them to our food pantry with smiling
faces. We look forward to seeing them each year," says Kari Cushing, executive director
of Saratoga's Franklin Community Center. She's describing Skidmore Cares, the holiday-season program led by students, faculty and staff to help nearly a dozen
service agencies in the Saratoga area.
From student club and team projects to service-learning courses to faculty and staff volunteering, Skidmore brings a lot of energy and expertise to community engagement all year round. Skidmore Cares, as one of the broadest efforts, builds both campus pride and community spirit during the holidays.
This week about 150 faculty and staff members attended an energetic kickoff luncheon, where Skidmore President Philip Glotzbach stated, "Skidmore Cares is one of our most significant expressions of the values and strength of the Skidmore community. It was created 11 years ago to provide a concrete way for all of us to come together, affirm our ties with one another across all divisions of the college and give back to the larger Saratoga Springs region."
Representatives from several community agencies joined the luncheon to share stories
of how Skidmore Cares enables their organizations to better serve the needs of Saratoga
County families. "We are deeply touched by what Skidmore Cares does for the Saratoga
Center for the Family," said Rebecca Baldwin, executive director. "The yearly contributions
have a tremendous impact on our success."
At Franklin Community Center, Cushing says, "we have come to rely on these large donations—last year it was more than 1,000 pounds of food!—to help stock our pantry during our busy winter months." At the Wellspring resource to reduce sexual and domestic violence, Maggie Fronk, executive director, is grateful for "so many years of raising awareness of our services, and of providing basic needs, from food to school supplies, that help us to help families escaping abuse."
Capping the program will be a festive event in early December at Scribner House, the residence of Glotzbach and wife Marie, who have spearheaded Skidmore Cares for its 11 years. The Glotzbachs welcome all members of the college to attend, with or without a contribution to add to the sleigh on their front lawn. Afterward, campus volunteers will sort, load trucks and deliver the goods to participating agencies.
Addressing those at the kickoff, President Glotzbach commented, "Columnist David Brooks recently visited our campus and spoke about a theme that runs through his writing, the human need for community. Specifically, he talked about the message that once served as a common, uniting theme for this nation: the idea that most of us have come to this land as immigrants, seeking to form a new civic order in which we all can have a place. We know that our nation has never completely lived up to this ideal of e pluribus unum—out of many, one—but we abandon this ideal at our peril." He continued, "Skidmore Cares reminds us that we have the power to oppose those trends that divide us. We have the capacity to affirm one another's unique value and to act in common to make a difference in the world."
Since 2006 Skidmore Cares has donated $82,636 in cash, 17,945 food items and more than 10,000 school supplies and personal care items to agencies including the Corinth Central School, Franklin Community Center, Latino Community Advocacy Program, Mary's Haven, Salvation Army, Saratoga Center for the Family, Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Saratoga Springs City School District PATHS program, Shelters of Saratoga and Wellspring.
"The power of our community is truly remarkable," said Marie Glotzbach. "Phil and I are most grateful for the philanthropy of our colleagues, who help to make each year's Skidmore Cares more generous than the last."
Skidmore Cares kickoff event at Murray-Aikins Dining Hall