Group gives to those in need

The holidays often bring out the spirit of giving, which is what the Scotia Relief Association has been doing for more than 70 years. The association is a nonprofit organization that offers aid to village residents who have fallen on hard times, specifically during the holiday season.

We provide one-time aid to families in the area who are in need for whatever reason, said Mayor-elect Kris Kastberg, secretary of Scotia Relief.

Kastberg said families receive vouchers for food, clothing, diapers, and utilities " whatever essentials each particular family may need. In the past, the organization has offered aid to as many as 100 families in one year, with those families needing the help particularly during the holiday season.

"We either hear of families or we receive referrals for those in need. We have area businesses such as Scotia National Bank, that help us with funding as we really solely on donations," said Kastberg.

Many of the funds help families put together a Thanksgiving meal and buy gifts for their children at Christmas. Referrals come from school nurses, churches and others in the community who know the residents and have insight on what their particular situation may be. The aid that is granted is distributed equally among families. Last year the group helped 52 families for $7,893.

During the 1950s, the group expanded its scope to include residents of the Scotia-Glenville Central School District.

President of the organization Jim Dunham said it is important for people in this size of a community to know that if they fall on hard times, they are not alone.

"We want people to know that help is out there, and that they can depend on those in their community to help where they can," said Dunham.

Scotia Relief continues to operate on a neighbor-helping-neighbor basis in an effort to maintain a low profile and guard the privacy of those they assist. The requests they have for help this year are up 25 percent over last year and, as a result, they have decided to increase the awareness of the program so that the group can continue their assistance.

To contribute, contact Dunham at Glen Worden Elementary School by calling 346-0469.""

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