December 24, 2016

“Christmas Elf Team”

A Letter from Nancy Zahler, Coordinator of the Ulysses Christmas Bureau:

Dear Bill, on behalf of the volunteers who organize the Ulysses Christmas Bureau to enable neigh- bors to help neighbors, I wanted to extend our appreciation to you and the residents who provided such wonderful help this holiday season. For several years, residents have cheerfully loaded 60+ bags of apples and potatoes donated by Cornell University into our volunteer's truck and unloaded them at our various distribution locations. They are always on time, efficient and happy to help. This year, we asked even more of them and they not only rose to the challenge but became one of the highlights of this season's effort.

In addition to loading and unloading the donated produce, which now includes dividing potatoes from 50 lbs. bags into 5 lbs. bags for each of our families, a great team of residents showed up early on Saturday morning, December 17th to help us carry boxes of donated canned goods, 3 bags of groceries we purchased with community donations, and the bags of apples and potatoes to our neighbors' cars while they picked out some extras for their family.

It was a long day but your guys made a great team with our Lions Club volunteers and they maintained their holiday spirits and kept us entertained in between deliveries. It was a particularly snowy day and some of our families couldn't make it in to pick up the presents and food for their children so your team offered to deliver to some of the out of the way homes. Then during a lull in activity your team broke down and loaded the tables we borrowed from Ulysses Square into your van and offered to return them so we'd have less to clean up at the end of our long day. Your van and our car of your volunteers arrived to find the driveway had not been plowed, making it impossible to drive the tables to the door. The guys in our car were undeterred by the 6 inches of now and said, "Let's do it!" and they carried each of the tables from the road through about 100 feet of snow into the building to store them safely until next year. That was service above and beyond!!


What was perhaps the best part for all of us, was knowing just how much it meant to your guys to participate in making Christmas possible for our needy neighbors. We ended our time together with grateful, tearful hugs all around. Thank you for letting us get to know them, these men who use your services, for giving them the opportunity to give back and for the wonderful, cheerful help they provide to the dedicated, but aging, volunteers of the Ulysses Christmas Bureau!!

Thanks again and we look forward to this great partnership again in 2017!

-Nancy Zahler, Ulysses Christmas Bureau