Serving a Larger Community

A Community of Neighbors

It’s no secret that Shaker Pointe is home to a vibrant community of neighbors who care.  Walking around on a typical morning, you see it in every passing greeting or over coffee in the Great Room, by the fireplace.  An entire neighborhood connected, not only by the space they share, but through a common frame of mind.  It has often been said by visitors, upon meeting residents, “Where are all the others hiding?”  The truth is you will be hard pressed to find any member of the community unwelcoming.  From the moment you walk through the front door, chances are you will be warmly received by each person you pass.  This warmth spills out from the physical confines of the Shaker Pointe community and into the larger Capital District.  Each Tuesday at 8:20 a.m., you will find a group of members from our volunteer committee gathering before setting off to volunteer at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Troy.  The larger mission of the Shaker Pointe Volunteer Committee is to identify volunteer opportunities in the broader community that would benefit from the compassionate concern of Shaker Pointe residents.  Meeting each month in the Activities Room, the committee serves just that.  Residents have had an ongoing involvement with the Regional Food Bank as well as the Roarke Center in Troy.  All are invited to join the team at any time and many do so based on their schedules.  There is a dedication you can count on when you see a group of 7-12 residents standing faithfully each Tuesday morning ready to donate their time to the tasks ahead.

Residents Sal Aiezza and Connie Kelly

Residents Sal Aiezza and Connie Kelly

Volunteered Time

For two hours each Tuesday morning, Shaker Pointe residents volunteer their time at the Regional Food Bank.  The usual group consists of the Volunteer Committee Chair, Jack Mayer, Mary Ann Lettau, Vince & Mary Murphy, Jack Egan, Bob & Barb Donnaruma, Terri Powers, Connie Kelly, and resident Sal Aiezza.  They spend the morning sorting and inspecting hundreds of boxes and cans of food as it passes on conveyor belts.  This is an important task since the food bank relies solely on volunteers to operate.  Says resident volunteer Connie Kelly, “The demand for food is so high and the amount of food coming through the Food Bank is incredible!  The pallets are stacked to the ceiling!”  The Regional Food Bank of the Northeast distributes the donated food from Canada down to New York City.  Given the vast range of those served by the food bank, any amount of time donated is greatly appreciated.  The food at the Troy location comes from local grocery stores, food manufactures, and individuals.  The packed and sorted food items from the food bank are distributed to food pantries, shelters and the homeless.  Resident volunteer Sal Aiezza commented, “It’s just amazing what you can accomplish there in a short amount of time.”  When asked why they volunteer Sal commented, “Volunteering just puts you in a good mood.”

The Volunteer committee sorts thought household donations at a drive at Shaker Pointe

The Volunteer committee sorts thought household donations at a drive at Shaker Pointe

Serving Together

For the resident volunteers at Shaker Pointe, time spent at the food bank passes quickly when they work together.  Being responsible for checking all the ‘sell by’ dates and inspecting the quality of each food item can grow tedious, but filling the time with laughter helps.  As a team, the Shaker Pointe residents rely on each other’s intuitions when determining what to keep and what to toss.  Said Sal, “If someone isn’t sure about something, we ask the person next to us what they think.”  Shaker Pointe volunteers have come to know others who wholeheartedly volunteer on Tuesday mornings.  Connie identified one such individual saying, “One man we see often told us that years ago he heard that volunteering keeps you young.  He’s 92 now and still volunteers at the Food Bank-so I guess it works!”  In the chilly warehouse space volunteers use the warmth of good spirit to complete the job.  Said Connie, “We wear our coats, hats and boots and once you get to work, you forget all about the cold.”  The camaraderie and good nature of the group is apparent.  In wrapping up another year, we often reflect on our many blessings and recognize the need of those less fortunate.   The many volunteers at Shake Pointe do just that, in their service together.

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