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Adopt-a-Family, and lend Santa a helping hand

MILLERTON — Holiday smiles will once again be brightening the faces of some 200 children and their families throughout the area, thanks to the 27th annual Adopt-a-Family program, once again organized by the ever-generous, always-altruistic Stacey Moore and her trusty elves.

Although continuing COVID-19 concerns and a desire to keep everyone healthy mean that the town of North East’s very own North Pole will not be returning to the Library Annex this year, the creative charity group has come up with a system to ensure that families have whatever they need in order to have a happy holiday.

After having been limited to gift card distribution only last year, Moore said this year’s program will again be different. It will be something of a mixture of a choice of gift cards or a more traditional distribution of age-appropriate toys.

The gifts will again be donated by community members from around the Tri-state region. Those donors truly enjoy knowing how happy those who would otherwise go without will be finding special items under their Christmas Trees, Hanukkah Menorahs or Kwanzaa Kinaras come those special holidays.

Moore is quick to share credit with loyal donors, who return to contribute year after year.

“The whole surrounding area is very giving no matter what,”  she said. “They pull it together and make it happen.”

The dedicated volunteer, who is already busy from morning to night running her own business, Moore & More Printing on Dutchess Avenue in Millerton, noted that donors give in several ways, with some “adopting” entire families and fulfilling the needs of those groups, others buying individual gifts and the remainder contributing the funds that allow the organization to purchase the gift cards that make such a difference to so many. The regional equestrian community has been especially generous for many years, she noted.

Families  in need of a friendly hand are encouraged to sign up by calling Moore & More at 518-789-4508 Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to register children from pre-birth to age 13 who live in the Webutuck and Pine Plains Central School Districts.

Rather than having traditional shopping at The Annex, aka The North Pole South, Moore and her crew will use the information provided by the families that register (as well as school social workers and guidance counselors who discreetly do so) to select appropriate toys and clothing for distribution.

The “new North Pole” will instead be run out of Moore’s popular print shop at 17 Dutchess Ave., in the heart of Millerton right next to Herrington’s, beginning in early December.

Families will also have the option of selecting only gift cards, a procedure that Moore said “went very well” when it was used last year. In fact, more than 200 children received the cards when COVID-19 put a stop to the usual distribution system used by the toy and clothing drive that has provided holiday gifts to area children for decades.

The cards, which Moore credits to Sunday in the Country Food Drive organizer Bill Anstett for “running all around and picking up,” can be used at local businesses this year.

Those include: Tractor Supply, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Label Shopper and Freshtown (all in Amenia); and Millerton’s The Dig, CVS and Oblong Books. Oblong's owner, Dick Hermans, Moore noted, has been with the program “through it all.”

Moore is once again hoping that the community, which has always responded so well, will once again bring donations either to her shop or to The Annex. Hours there have not yet been set, but donors can call Moore & More to check on those in the coming days.

Requested items

Battery-operated toys are fine, but Adopt-a-Family does not accept electronic games and the like, opting instead to supply items that encourage active thought, creativity, physical movement and  involvement with others. Sporting equipment is always appreciated as are games, puzzles, dolls, books, Legos and other building and art supplies.

Diapers, blankets, hats, mittens and gloves are needed. Clothing should be pre-matched to required sizes. All clothing items should be new.

Monetary support is always appreciated and needed more than ever. Tax-deductible checks may be made out to the nonprofit Adopt-a-Family, and dropped off at Moore & More or mailed to P.O. Box 880, Millerton, NY 12546.

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