How you can give

Kathy Whitbeck, who has worked for the Hilltown Community Resource Center since 1997, when it was in St. Bernadette’s Church in Berne, says the demand for the food pantry has increased and broadened from years ago.

Requests are made for hygiene products, like diapers, toothpaste, and deodorant.

“The people that used to be somewhat middle class are now considered somewhat poor class,” said Whitbeck.

The resource center is a program of the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. It is housed in an annex building of the Westerlo Reformed Church, its latest location after Tropical Storm Irene damaged its trailer — its former home made possible by donations from all four Hilltowns.

The center’s director since last spring, Mary Beth Peterson said she hopes to offer more social services from Albany County for people in the Hilltowns who are among the most needy in the county and unable to travel to services in Albany.

The resource center runs on the good will of people in the community, too, on and off the Helderberg escarpment. In the Enterprise holiday section this week, we write about the people that make the resource center so vital.

The center’s Christmas program seeks sponsors to fulfill families’ lists of needs and wants. This week, many families in the Hilltowns are taking donated turkeys out of their ovens and will have several more meals, thanks to the surge of giving this time of year.

To sponsor a family or make an appointment to shop in the food pantry, call the resource center at 797-5256.

Anyone who wants to contribute can make checks payable to the HCRC, mailed to the Hilltowns Community Resource Center, Post Office Box 147, Westerlo, NY 12193.

One of the resource center’s more active volunteers, Daryl Webb, has heard the stories of people her donations benefit, and helping them keeps her motivated. She’s been doing it throughout her life.

“To hear these little kids say, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to get anything from Santa Claus this year,’ That, to me, hurts me,” said Webb. “And, if you say this to an elderly person, that really upsets them, because they feel bad. What can we do?”