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‘Future leaders’ aid pantry

Forestville club brightens holiday

Members of the Fredonia Star Riders are pictured delivering their goods and check to the Forestville Food Pantry. Pictured, front row are Owen and Aiden Kilburn. Second row, from left, are Tianna Bova; Awnna Aldinger; Maddie Oakes: club treasurer; Abigail Oakes; Ralph Silleman, Fredonia Food Pantry representative; Alyssa Graziano: assistant club leader; and Bobbie Kilburn. Third row, from left, are Aimee Rogers, club leader; Kim Oakes; Krystal Hafner; Mackenzie Graziano; Shari Graziano and Jesse Morse. Back row is Teela Morse.

Special to the OBSERVER

FORESTVILLE — For four years now, a 4-H Club in Forestville called the Fredonia Star Riders have raised money for the Forestville Food Pantry by standing outside three businesses Cave’s, Evans Bank and Tavern on the Mall in Forestville and asking for donations.

Each year the youth have seen an increase in donations, but nothing prepared them for this year. With their hearts and minds knowing that the donations would most likely be less due to the pandemic, the 4-H youth set out for what turned out to be a very memorable first evening on Dec. 4.

As the club began to gather in front of the Post Office in Forestville they noticed two gentlemen were patiently waiting for them to begin. After speaking to them they found out that they wanted to be the first to donate to support the 4-H community service project and, of course, to help the Forestville Food Pantry.

The two gentlemen were the Todd Johnson, Hanover town supervisor and president of the Firemans Association, and Paul Rocque, Firemans Association vice president.

Fredonia Star Riders members are pictured on the first day of bell ringing to raise money for the Forestville Food Pantry. From left are Awnna Aldinger; Maddie Oakes, club treasurer; Paul Rocque: vice president of the Hanover Fireman’s Association; Todd Johnson: Hanover town supervisor and president of the fireman’s association; Deona Sanders, club president; Summer Sanden, club vice president; Sienna Galofaro, James Oakes and Maddie Oakes.

As the group finally gathered, Rocque, on behalf of the Firemans Association, handed a check to Maddie Oakes, 4-H club treasurer, for $250, and then Johnson handed Oakes another check on behalf of him and his wife for $250.

Johnson then spoke to the members and said thanked the group for helping the needy in the community.

“You are the future leaders in the community and for that I thank you. I really appreciated it,” Johnson said.

The club leader, members and parents thanked them for their generous donations and for the much appreciated words of encouragement to the youth.

The second Friday, a week later, Dec. 11, another cold evening, the kids and parents gathered at the three business in Forestville for day two of “Bell Ringing for the Food Pantry” and were not disappointed.

Through the generosity of the community from both those days, the 4-H youth raised a grand total of $1,126 dollars.

The youth were invited to see the Forestville Food Pantry. On Thursday, Dec. 17, with a box of donated food items, an envelope of checks totaling $1,126 and smiles hidden under their masks, the group not only got a tour of the facility from Ralph Silleman of the Forestville Food Pantry, but also a sincere thank you for their part in helping those in need.

Fredonia Star Riders members wanted to extend sincere gratitude to community and the patrons of the establishments that gave so generously both days during these trying times. The club also thanks the Forestville businesses for allowing the youth to stand outside their doors.

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