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Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Photos: Start of 2nd Annual Annual Andrea Lynn Mangefrida Memorial Fund Golf Tournament

Fourty-eight golfers turned out today at the Le Roy Country Club for the 2nd Annual Andrea Lynn Mangefrida Memorial Fund Golf Tournament to benefit Stepping Stones Learning Center. 

Stepping Stones is a center for children with autism.

Andrea Lynn Mangefrida was 3 years old when she drowned in a swimming pool mishap in 2011.

Following the tournament, there will be a basket raffle and dinner with as many as 150 people attending.

Above, Jason Saile, James Sheflin, Darryl Streeter and Mike Sheflin, who are looking to defend their title from last year.

Friday, July 11, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Riders raise more than $1,400 for Crossroads House

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity, crossroads house

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Crossroads House received a $1,445 donation today, the result of the 4th Annual Jerry "Rat" Cone Memorial Run, held July 5 in Genesee County.

Fifty-two riders participated in the charity trek over local roads.

The donation was delivered this evening.

Pictured are, from left, Scott Bliss, Jim Andrews, Kelli Bliss, Vanessa Andrews, Paul Ohlson, Anthony "Smokey" LoCastro, Stephen Worthington, Pastor Timothy Young, and on the porch are Charlotte Puccio, Mary Ann Shuler and Kathleen Pentepento.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 9:26 am

Bone marrow drive for Pavilion firefighter to be held Tuesday

post by Daniel Crofts in charity, firefighters, Pavilion

Bill Kegler, left, spent 22 years in the military and has been fighting fires since he was 18. Now he is fighting a different enemy, and hoping his winning hand gets dealt next week.

Kegler is a Pavilion resident and six-year member of the Community Fire Company; he is pictured above with Vice President Nick Wright. He is battling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease that causes poorly formed or dysfunctional blood cells.

"I found out that there was something going on with my blood through the (Batavia) VA back in 2011," Kegler said. "They told me to see a hematologist (blood doctor), who diagnosed what I had through a bone marrow biopsy."

He has since been receiving treatment -- first from the Batavia hematologist who diagnosed him, and now at the Wilmot Cancer Center at Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital. In addition to chemotherapy, his treatment includes experimental drugs that are part of a national clinical test.

"I get chemo treatments every month," Kegler said. "It lasts for seven days straight, and then I'm off for 21 days. Then it starts all over, and that will go on forever until they find a bone marrow match."

To that end, at the instigation of Secretary Kathy Wright, the Community Fire Company is hosting a bone marrow drive for Kegler from 5 until 9 p.m. on Tuesday. It will be at the Pavilion Fire Department Hall at 11302 Lake St. in Pavilion.

Anyone age 18 to 44 and in good health is encouraged to participate. There is no cost, and it only requires a few moments of people's time and a mouth swab.

"I would be very grateful to anyone who comes out," Kegler said.

Until then, he stays in high spirits.

"I think the biggest thing is all the support and prayers I'm getting from everybody I know," he said.  "And people I haven't even met are coming up to me and saying they have me on their prayer lists. My own spirituality is also going a long way in keeping me on an even keel."

Originally from Alden, Kegler has resided in Genesee County for more than 40 years. He and his wife raised their six children in Batavia, sending their two oldest to Notre Dame High School and the younger children to the Batavia City School District. Kegler has also lived in Oakfield and served as a member of the Oakfield Fire Department.

For more information, call Nick Wright at 813-1288.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Photos: 2nd Annual Collin Crane Memorial fundraiser

Falleti Ice Arena today hosted a fundraiser for the Collin Crane Memorial Fund.

The fund provides scholarships to deserving local hockey players. This was the second year for the fundraiser, which honors the memory of Collin Crane, a Batavia teen killed in an auto accident in December 2012.

The event featured a full day of hockey, including a match involving a team comprised of Crane's teammates, as well as a chance auction.

After their game, members of Crane's team held a pray for their teammate.

Monday, March 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation donates $10K to Golisano Children's Hospital

Press release:

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation donated its first installment of $10,000 to the new Golisano Children's Hospital which is currently under construction in Rochester, NY, with opening date slotted for 2015.

This is the first installment as the foundation has pledged a total of $50,000 to the project. The monies will be earmarked for the Child Life Office in the new facility. Child Life provides the hospitalized children with therapeutic programs, play and other activities to help children and families cope with the challenges of illness or hospitalization.

This is another way the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation continues to fulfill its mission and Lend a Hand for Hope. For more information on fundraising events, or to see how you can help, go to www.michaelshope.org.

Friday, October 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

Locally grown produce helps fill community food pantries

post by Bonnie Marrocco in agriculture, bergen, charity

Fifteen years ago longtime Le Roy resident Stu Freeman noticed that leftover potatoes were sitting in fields rotting after harvest season, so he got farmers in the community to allow him to glean the vegetable to donate to local food pantries. That year he brought about 300 pounds of potatoes in and he's been doing it every year since.

Since then the "Potato Man" as he is affectionately known, has also gotten farmers to donate cabbage, carrots, onion and butternut squash. So much so that he couldn't keep up with the demand.

Two years ago he recruited members of his congregation, Bergen First Presbyterian Church, to assist. They regularly gather, sort, wash, pack and deliver fresh produce to food pantries every two weeks throughout the fall and winter. Last year they delivered more than 15,000 pounds to The Salvation Army and Community Action in Batavia, as well as Go Christian Church in Churchville.

Congregation member Kelsey Hill got involved and she is grateful for the opportunity to live out her faith in a practical way.

"I rounded up high school kids from the Sunday school class that I was co-teaching and we volunteered together," Hill said. "I was excited for the opportunity to show the students that faith isn't just something to talk about on Sunday mornings, but something to live out every day."

There are about 10 area farmers who participate. Although the farmers are committed to helping, they prefer to remain anonymous. The Batavian agreed not to print their names or the names of their farms.

Besides food, Freeman also collects coats and shoes for The Salvation Army in Batavia, Open Door Mission in Rochester and Teen Challenge in Buffalo. In the past three years, he has brought them hundreds of both, with help from his church and community.

He is an extremely humble man who is hesitant to talk about himself or his accomplishments, but having come from a family of 10 children, he knows how hard it is to make ends meet.

"I've done what the good Lord has put in my heart to do," Freeman said. "I don't want praise or publicity, I just want other people to get involved by donating food to the hungry. One church can't do it all."

Hill also encourages individuals, families and churches to give food or money to charities for families in need.

"We could also use more hands to wash and dry vegetables this Saturday and it's open to whomever would like to help," Hill said

Among those extra hands will be the Byron-Bergen Soccer team.

The next "Potato Wash" will be held 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church of Bergen, 38 S. Lake Ave., Bergen.

Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

Presbyterians ready for annual free clothing giveaway

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity, first presbyterian church

The First Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Main St., Batavia, is hosting a community clothing and household item giveaway Sunday and Monday.

Donations are still be accepted today. Organizers are looking for clean, gently used clothing and household items such as towels, bedding, curtains, tablecloths and throw rugs.

There's always a need for donations of clothing for infants, boys and girls, and for men and women, shoes, sneakers, purses and hats, plus winter clothing for children and adults.

Donations can be brought to the church today from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m.

Items that cannot be left include large items, furniture, appliances and similar items.

For those who need to receive such donations, the giveaway is from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday.

Monday, December 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

Byron-Bergen third-grader founds 'Jr. Angels in Action' -- for kids, by kids

It all started with a little girl with a big heart.

Angelique Heick, the 8-year-old from Bergen who competed as a finalist in the "American Miss" pageant in August, spent a large part of the last year taking money from her monthly allowances and using it to purchase toys for underprivileged children in Genesee County.

She donated 12 toys for each month of the year to Community Action Angels of Genesee County, which is the volunteer arm of Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. It's made up of volunteers dedicated to gathering donations for toys, food, clothing, extra money and other necessities for Genesee County residents in need.

But this wasn't enough. When Angelique learned about all that the "Angels" do to support needy kids and families, she was bothered that there was no such volunteer program for kids her age.

"I wanted to know why there was no Community Action Junior Angels," she said, "so I decided to start my own."

Now, with the help of 100 Girl Scouts -- officially dubbed "Jr. Angels" -- their families, Community Action and others, Angelique has achieved this dream.

Angelique -- a third-grader at Byron-Bergen Elementary School, a Girl Scout since age 4 and a member of Troop 42174 -- inspired her Girl Scout Troop with her idea and efforts to collect funding promises from local businesses along with three friends -- Pat, Lisa and Annet.

Troop 42174 Leader Rene Vurraro gathered Girl Scout Troops from Byron-Bergen, Pavilion and Le Roy to help with a community service event in response to Angelique's vision.

When Community Action, in turn, heard about what the Scouts were doing, they decided to partner with them to make this a much bigger, annual event called "Circle of Giving" and to develop a Community Action Jr. Angels program.

The first "Circle of Giving" was held on Saturday at Byron-Bergen High School.  The Jr. Angels were there to collect donations of food, clothing and toys, and to make cards for the recipients.

The goal is to eventually turn this into an opportunity for area Girl Scouts to earn a badge.

Beyond that, Community Action has included this project in a book of statewide initiatives so that people in other areas of New York State can read about it and get similar projects started.

"One 8-year-old's dream could turn into thousands of Girl Scouts doing the same thing," said Pat Standish, founder of Community Action Angels of Genesee County.

Standish gave the Scouts an inspirational talk about her experience with the "Angels" and told them how much people will appreciate what they are doing.

"When I first started (with Community Action Angels)," she said, "I thought kids would want things like bicycles and iPods. But what's important to them is not what you give, but that you show that you care."

She also stressed the importance of team effort when it comes to the "Angels" and similar volunteer initiatives.

"I may have had the idea (as founder)," Standish said, "but I needed the help of volunteers to make it happen. And Angelique had an idea, but she couldn't have done it without help from all of you and your families."

Organizations that sponsored this endeavor include Stahlka Agency, Complete Payroll Processing, the Sallie Mae Fund and First Niagara Bank.

"They gave money so the kids wouldn't have to wait (to get started)," Standish said.

Dee Dee Hintz, Angelique's grandmother and legal guardian, expressed gratitude to Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School Principal Aaron Johnson and Elementary School Principal Brian Meister for handing out fliers for this event.

"I think this is the beginning of something big," Hintz said, noting the number of volunteers involved in the overall project.

"Next year will be even bigger," she said. "(Angelique) already knows what she wants to do next year. She'll carry this on for at least two or three more years."

A final note

"Circle of Giving" is the philosophy of Community Action Angels, which encourages its beneficiaries to "pay it forward."

According to Standish, many of the people helped by the "Angels" over the years have become volunteers.

Special thanks to Angelique's mom, Jennifer Cejka, for sharing background information prior to the event and for providing the inspiration for the article's title.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Photo: High Voltage providing tattoos and piercings for charity

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, charity, High Voltage Tattoo

There was a long line of people waiting for tattoos this morning at 10 when High Voltage Tattoo and Piercing opened its doors for its second annual fundraising event.

The event continues on Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with patrons being able to choose from a set of predetermined designs for $30 per tattoo and piercings for $20 (includes jewelry).

All proceeds benefit Don Carroll's Toys for Kids and Golisano Children's Hospital.

High voltage is located at 110 W. Main St., Batavia.

Above, Kenny McCarthy inks John Veitch with a four-leaf clover.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Submitted photo: Employees at Liberty Pumps contribute to Sandy relief

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, charity, liberty pumps

Press release:

Several employees of Liberty Pumps contributed to the purchase of items to be shipped to help with Super Storm Sandy relief efforts. Items sent by Liberty employees included cleaning supplies, first-aid supplies, toiletries, food items, paper products, baby items, batteries, winter clothing, pet items and much more.

Also contributing to this shipment was C&M Forwarding, a local trucking company that shipped this huge pallet at no charge!

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