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Charitable Ro: One woman gives at her own expense

In the meantime, now that the holiday season is just about wrapped up, Auntie Ro will temporarily retire her bell with one thing in mind: "I'm going to get caught up on my sleep," she said, "and woe be unto him that bothers me."

SIDEBAR: When does the giving season end?

By CARI SCRIBNER, SPOTLIGHT STAFF

The presents have been unwrapped, the dinners shared, the family visits made, and thoughts return to getting back into the routine of non-holiday times.

For many, the holidays were a time to look outside their own lives and share the spirit of the season with people in need. Whether that meant donating to local food pantries, spending time at a residence for older adults, or making a charitable donation, the season from Thanksgiving to December holidays can bring out the best in us.

The theme of good will to men motivates us, but come Jan. 2, for many, those good intentions are packed up and put away until next November. But sadly, the basic needs for food, shelter and comfort among the less fortunate don't end when the calendar changes, leaving staff members at area charities hoping the holiday spirit will carry on well after the New Year is rung in.

"We continuously need volunteers; it never goes away," said Crystal Hamelink, assistant to the Rev. Phil Grigsby, who founded the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) 40 years ago.

Hamelink said she has seen a trend year after year of volunteer troops rising in numbers in the last months of the calendar year, only to drop off when hands-on support may be most needed.

"We have so much business, we have people lining up in the snow to get into our food pantry," said Hamelink.

SICM, located in the heart of Hamilton Hill, relies heavily on the time and energies of volunteers to keep the shelves of the food pantry stocked and other essential programs running.

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