By Jasmine Willis
DANSVILLE — With the holidays rushing upon us it is easy to get distracted about the little things, and forget there are others who are less fortunate this season.
Jenni Leuzzi and Terry Derrenbacher of Mill Creek Optical have coordinated our local Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive since 2016. It is a way to give back to the community since most of the money stays local. It goes to the Dansville Central School for the school backpack program and other needy children.
“The Salvation Army has given us a mini kettle to keep at the store, and we have had some people put money in it when they come in,” Derrenbacher said. “I have really enjoyed doing the bell ringing with my family every year. We have this whole thing running on volunteers. It doesn’t work without our volunteers. It is all about the community spirit.”
Leuzzi said she has been in charge of this drive for several years, and it always gets better and better.
“We lost our Sunday at Tops Friendly Markets this year, but I don’t think that is going to hurt us too much. We always manage to fill out spaces with volunteers. In the start it is a little slow since it is right after Thanksgiving. We do this right up until Christmas Eve,” she said. “The Class of 2020 has taken every Tuesday block from 4 to 8 p.m. Our local church groups love to volunteer every year. The school sports teams do it every year too. The best is when we get the little kids ringing the bell. They love to do it alone or with their parents.”
The entire community gets involved with the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive from your children, athletes, mayor, Dansville Rotary Club, store owners, Dansville Lions Club, churchgoers, Christmas Carolers, and even those outside the area. We get people from Wayland, Cohocton, North Cohocton, and Springwater coming out to ring that bell for the holidays. Leuzzi’s father does the antique school room bells when he rings the bell for the drive.
“It is really good to see the young kids volunteering for this. We need to get them all started at a young age,” Leuzzi said. “They know there are people out there in the community that need this help. They want them to benefit from it.”
Last year the Dansville area made $13,938 for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive. This year there has been an outpouring of love and support for the drive.