Bethlehem businesses support STRIDE

Campaign raises $4K in donations to not-for-profit

Anyone doubting the commitment locally owned businesses have for their surrounding community needed to look no further than Phillips Hardware Wednesday, Jan. 26.

There, the STRIDE Adaptive Sports program, a not-for-profit, accepted a donation of $4,000 from the Bethlehem business community, raised in short order through the efforts of Phillips Hardware owner Jonathan Phillips and an advertising campaign in The Spotlight.

STRIDE provides various sporting opportunities for children with special needs, and also participates in the Wounded Warrior program, which provides a wide range of support services to injured soldiers returning home.

This is a very significant amount of money that is going to help a lot of children with special needs and some of the Wounded Warrior projects we deal with, STRIDE CEO Mary Ellen Whitney said as she accepted the check. "I can't thank the community enough for this."

Albany County Executive Michael Breslin said he is familiar with the work STRIDE does with the Wounded Warriors program, and was happy to see the group getting the funding it needs.

"I know what they do for the wounded veterans who come back, and I know how much it means to them," Breslin said.

Altogether, 44 Bethlehem businesses donated money to STRIDE and many bought space in a local business advertising insert distributed with The Spotlight. The endeavor was not only a great way to promote a buy local mentality, but a method of showing Bethlehem businesses are behind the community that supports them, said Phillips.

"We gotta show as businesses we're not looking to put money in our pockets, we're looking to help the community," he said.

Phillips spearheaded the fundraising campaign, along with Spotlight advertising representative Susan O'Donnell. They worked to put together donations and the advertising supplement, accomplishing the task in a matter of weeks.

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