Gillibrand serves at Holley community center

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 November 2013 at 12:00 am

“I’m very grateful that we have so many public servants and volunteers that do this work. I wanted to come help them do this work that they do everyday.”  – U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Photos by Tom Rivers – U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, was in Holley today to help serve lunches and then to pack boxes of food for Thanksgiving. She dished out a macaroni and cheese lunch with peas, salad, a biscuit and fruit cocktail.

HOLLEY – U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped by a community center in Holley today and later in Wellsville, serving food and helping to fill boxes with food to be given to needy families.

Gillibrand said she wanted to highlight soup kitchens and community centers, especially during the holiday season. The senator also wanted to pitch in and help with the tasks.

“I’m very grateful that we have so many public servants and volunteers that do this work,” she said after serving food and packing boxes in Holley. “I wanted to come help them do this work that they do everyday.”

The Eastern Orleans Community Center is run by Community Action. The site in the Public Square serves 9,400 hot meals a year from Monday through Friday. The site initially was only available to senior citizens but that changed less than a decade ago.

It is now open to the entire community, and it serves many young families, especially during the summer, said Ed Fancher, Community Action director.

“There are people who come here for lunch and it’s the only hot meal they get all day,” said Murray resident Leon Randall. “This is a very important site.”

Randall serves as the Murray representative on the Office for the Aging board. He stops at the Community Center once or twice a week for a meal and “to talk with folks.”

Gillibrand packed several boxes today, making sure to include canned fruits and vegetables.

Meals are served on one side of the building, and the other side serves as a youth center. About 50 kids a year stop by to do homework, play Fooseball and use the computers.

The center also is the base for the Thanksgiving outreach effort. Community Action is filling 135 boxes with turkeys, milk, and other food for Holley area families.

She talked with some of the residents, including a young mother. Gillibrand urged the woman to pursue a degree at Genesee Community College, perhaps in early childhood education.

Gillibrand said families need good-paying jobs to break out of poverty. She is pushing for manufacturing tax credits for companies that make products in the United States.

She also is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. A new Farm Bill, now more than a year overdue, is important for farmers. She also wants to keep food stamps in the Farm Bill. That helps farmers have more demand for their goods and increases access to fresh fruits and vegetables to needy residents, she said.

On the way out of the center today she stopped and shook hands with many Community Action staff.

“Thanks for your hard work and God bless,” she said.