Ardsley Cares Day returns to full pre-pandemic fervor this month, with nearly two dozen activities to benefit more than 20 organizations, all taking place on Saturday, Oct. 29, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
In 2021, to allow for social distancing, the all-volunteer event was spread out. Dubbed “Ardsley Cares All Year,” each month was devoted to a specific activity. In 2020, the day devoted to good deeds was canceled.
Sponsored by the PTA since 2008, Ardsley Cares Day this year is reaching out to communities as disparate as the residents of senior living complexes, animal shelters, and the Andrus Children’s Center.
Helmed by co-chairs Melissa Iannuzzo-Feldman, Lindy Lipka, and Sarika Chawla, Ardsley Cares Day organizers have posted online guidance for which kinds of donations are suitable for which organizations. There are also online sign-up sheets for volunteers to choose shifts for clothing, food, and toy drives; cleanup programs and outdoor beautification projects; and direct donations. Visit ardsleypta.org/ardsley-cares.html.
Once again, children can volunteer to play sports and games with special needs children at the Andrus Field Day; the Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s (YMAA) can work on crafts with Atria’s seniors; and at the end of the final shift, those with driver’s licenses will caravan to some of the organizations that are recipients of the clothing, canned goods, books, sporting equipment, and other items collected during the day.
Some volunteer shifts have been filling up. The Andrus Children’s Field Day, sorting and packing toiletry kits for local women’s shelters, painting rocks for the Peaceful Playground at Concord Road School, reading to children at the Ardsley Library, and sorting sporting goods for youth programs and children in need are popular.
Animal shelters are in luck. At Ardsley Middle School, volunteers will bake dog biscuits for the Yonkers Animal Shelter, or make dog toys and catnip pillows for Paws Crossed in Elmsford; others will bake dog biscuits at SPCA Westchester in Briarcliff Manor.
Several of the day’s approximately 20 committees, each of which oversees an activity, are promoting environmental consciousness. “Go Green Thumb,” sponsored by the Ardsley Garden Club, gives children of all ages the opportunity to spruce up and plant bulbs at the middle school’s Pollinator Garden. The Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale will hold separate children’s and teen sessions to teach about sheet mulching, a way to combat invasive plants and help create a meadow. Pascone Park will be the setting for an activity open to those 12 and over: a tour of the rain garden, an explanation of how to manage stormwater, pollution, and ecology — and daffodil planting in the process.
Lipka, Iannuzzo-Feldman, and Regina Dosso co-chaired the 2021 event. Ianuzzo-Feldman told the Enterprise on Oct. 3 that despite restrictions imposed by Covid-19, “We collected hundreds of toys from the community… at least 80 jackets, 50 pairs of boots. Hundreds of toiletry bags were made, hundreds of sandwich bags, at least 200 bags of sweatpants, coats, gloves scarves, hundreds of sweatshirts. People set up Amazon wish lists and sent it to us at the [Ardsley-Secor Volunteer] Ambulance Corps, because we had so many donations.”
“This year, from October 25 through October 29, each school will have a donation drop-off area,” she continued. “A bus will be planted at the police station where you can drop off donations.”
The PTA will have need of more volunteers for sorting and packing career clothing and laptops for the Foster Teen Employment Network; gently used or new fall or winter clothing for infants to adults, for the Sharing Shelf; and kitchenware, bedding, towels, toiletries, and children’s pajamas, for Hope’s Door, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
The Sharing Shelf is a Port Chester-based clothing bank founded to meet the basic material needs of low-income children and teens in Westchester County, and help them remain in school by providing them with personal hygiene items and appropriate clothing.
“We started planning months ago,” Iannuzzo-Feldman noted. “This event has been in the works since last April.” After volunteers sign up, she explained, in one or two weeks, they’ll start receiving eblasts about what they need to do for their particular event. “We’ll remind people to start collecting their items, and start reminding them about where to donate,” she added.
The Ardsley Cares Day committee, especially its co-chairs, will be in constant motion well beyond October. Iannuzzo-Feldman stated, “We literally could not do it without each other.” She and Lipka are chairing again this year because, she explained, “It’s a great event; it’s a great way for a family to come out and help families in need, to help others, which is why we’re all doing it.”
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