10 Franklin Street, Saratoga Springs, NY

Franklin Community Center Blog

Tis the Season to be Thankful…

November 23rd, 2011

As we hauled nearly 50, 12 pound turkeys yesterday, served dozens of others with holiday fixings and food pantry, answered endless phone calls and tripped over mounds of food donations, we left the office feeling happy, grateful and even a bit punchy from exhaustion!  This time of year is always equally rewarding as it is busy, and as a team, we enjoy greeting those in need with a comforting smile and showing donors our gratitude.  

Working at FCC gives us a whole new outlook on the holidays.  It’s easy to see how much of an impact our agency and our donors make on our community this time of year, and despite the organized chaos and influx of traffic, we are appreciative of our awesome teamwork and our families waiting for us at home.

Today, as the phone rings constantly with people wondering where they can get help for Christmas, we gear up for the next round of holiday hoopla headed our way.  Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend just how many people in our area need help this time of year, but we can’t get discouraged, and we try to focus on the silver lining, with the amount of donors and support that pours in. 

Though our registration deadlines for Christmas have come and gone, we are hopeful that no child we serve will go without at least one gift on their wish list.  We are still searching for donors to adopt families and even donate general gifts that can be used to distribute to folks who will turn to us after our deadlines.  I think all of us can understand the joy through the eyes of a child that comes from Christmas morning. 

If you have the means, please consider sharing your holiday joy with a local child in need.  Just call 587-9826 to adopt a family, or let us know whether you’d like to purchase general gifts.  Either way, you’ll be making a difference, right here at home.           

Beyond Their Years…

November 14th, 2011

The holiday season is in full swing at the Center, and it’s amazing the outpouring of support we see this time of year.  People of all ages and all walks of life are in the spirit of giving, and even those who have little to give are making an effort to spread kindness and good will.  It is a pleasure each day to see folks dropping off Thanksgiving food items, Christmas gifts and adopting families to help make the season bright.

It’s busy, that’s for sure, and anyone who knows the ladies of FCC (aka the Franklin Facilitators ;)) knows we love meeting and greeting as often as we can.  Today was especially touching, as two extraordinary young men walked through our blue door, teaching us a lesson in generosity we never expected.

Shortly after lunch, a 4-year-old boy and his dad stopped by with a car load of toys and canned goods collected at the boy’s birthday party over the weekend.  According to the boy’s dad (let’s call the kid “E” for the story’s sake), “E” decided to forfeit birthday presents for himself so he could give back to kids in the community.  To my surprise, this young little guy at the age of 4 was truly thrilled to drop off the carload of goods at the Center.  He seemed to fully understand and surrender to the fact that he was basically foregoing his birthday loot , and he even listened intently as I gave him an age appropriate tutorial about the food pantry and the people we serve.  It was  a beautiful moment where I learned from a 4-year-old the true meaning of selflessness.  And dad watched proudly as the boy took the lead. 

Fast forward to a few hours later, in walks an 11-year-old boy (let’s call him “T”) carrying a stack of gift cards for turkeys that he could barely fit in his hands.  How did he get them?  By asking friends, neighbors, businesses and strangers to kindly donate toward the purchase of holiday items for folks served by Franklin Community Center.  Nearly $900 later, this 11-year-old single-handedly brought in more money in just a few weeks than most people could raise in a year!  Did I mention this was his second year taking on such a task?  The best part of the story is–as his mother told it–“T’s” generosity was spawned when his mom mentioned that there were “people right there in Saratoga Springs” that might not have the money to purchase Thanksgiving dinners for their families.  Unable to accept it, “T” took charge to see that would not happen, and that’s when he became an ambassador for FCC.

We could stand to learn a lot from these kids, don’t you think?  Each boy taking charge and doing something in their own way to make a difference.  Moved by their desire to change unfortunate circumstances, they are already making strides in their community.  At a time when I find myself getting caught up in the stress of purchasing gifts and shopping for my loved ones, I am quickly knocked back into reality when I arrive at work and see both sides of the scenario: so many struggling families and yet so much kindness, even at the youthful ages of 4 and 11.  We are blessed to have kids like these as the faces in our community–future leaders working together to make a difference. 

And that’s what the holiday season should be all about.