Thanks to the coverage from our responsive local media, most of you know that the Giving Tree initiative, organized by the Church and Community Program in Canton, experienced a major theft of children’s toys and pajamas. These were intended to go to children from low-income families on Dec. 13 and 14.
This loss was a low blow, but the generosity of our community has lifted our hearts — beyond all imagining. To all those who have helped repair this wrong, we are deeply grateful. Many groups at our colleges and schools and in the community have held pajama drives or taken up collections. Individuals have donated generously. Many businesses including several that belong to the Canton Chamber of Commerce, which spearheaded a drive, have provided funds for gifts. We thank you all for your help.
So many individuals sent funds with sentiments like this: “Reading the local news, I was heartbroken to hear that someone stole gifts for local children. Growing up in Canton, I knew that our town was special for many reasons. I now have a list of why Canton is a diamond in the rough including the fact that our community members look out for one another. The Church and Community Program (has always supported and given back to) Canton and the greater St. Lawrence County community. I hope this donation helps to make someone’s holidays a little brighter and warmer.”
Or this: “Please accept this donation to help replace what was stolen. … I hope many are moved to donate and that what you receive double what was taken. Merry Christmas!”
To all who conveyed similar sentiments, we want you to know that we have received much more than “double” our loss because along with this material help, our hearts are filled with gratitude at the outpouring of concern, reflecting that ours is a community where people do indeed “look out for one another.” Further, our community is wider than we knew! We have donations from Canton and Potsdam as well as Massena; Ogdensburg; Clayton; Cranberry Lake; North Lawrence; Brownville; Lowville; Carthage; Geneseo; Falls Church, Va.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Missouri; and South Carolina.
Again, we thank the media for sharing this story and helping to bind us all together.
The writers are, respectively, president of the board and director of the Church and Community Program.