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Ogdensburg’s Harvest Walk/Run fund an example of groups working together

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OGDENSBURG — Community organizations and churches are banding together for the 11th year to help the less fortunate in and around the city.

Although the annual Harvest Walk/Run isn’t until Oct. 5, the citywide effort to help raise money and donations of food is officially underway, organizing committee member Carol A. Whitcombe said.

“I see the need in St. Lawrence County on a regular basis,” Ms. Whitcombe said. “Poverty is just huge in St. Lawrence County.”

She said the organization raises $11,000 to $22,000 annually, and over the past decade has raised more than $110,000 to help families and individuals living below the poverty line.

Ms. Whitcombe said the Harvest Walk/Run draws support from and aids to a broad cross-section of church groups, food pantries and aid organizations. They include outreaches administered by St. John’s Episcopal Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Ogdensburg, Renewal House, Seaway House and the St. Vincent de Paul societies of St. Mary’s Cathedral and Notre Dame Church. Money and food collected also support outreach programs at St. Philip and James Parish, Lisbon, St. Raphael’s Parish, Heuvelton, Catholic Charities Bridging the Gap Program and the Ogdensburg Neighborhood Centershe said.

Charles W. Kelly, a longtime volunteer with the event, said there are a number of well-run charity organizations across the north country, but few bring together such a wide range of church organizations with the single goal of helping the less fortunate.

“When we talk about poverty there is no greater need than right here in St. Lawrence County, and there is no better example of people working together to address those needs than the Harvest Walk,” Mr. Kelly said. “It brings together all denominations, and everyone benefits as a result. I’m impressed with the way it’s run.”

The first major fundraiser of this year’s campaign will take place Monday when The Place restaurant on Ford Street sponsors a charity spaghetti and meatball dinner from 4 to 7 p.m., with all proceeds donated to the harvest fund. Other fundraisers will include a raffle and a community breakfast sponsored by the Elks Lodge.

People can also donate cash, nonperishable food items or cans and bottles that can be redeemed for cash, Ms. Whitcombe said.

“The success of this collaborative community event depends on community members, businesses, media, churches and human service organizations pooling their time and talents,” Ms. Whitcombe said. “People who live with financial challenges are not nameless, faceless statistics; they are persons with stories that deserve to be heard and critical needs that require a response from their community.”

For more information or to make a donation, call Ms. Whitcombe at 393-3133.

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