Bake Sale Fundraiser For Pleasant Valley Library To Be Held In A Little Beacon Space

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After the fire raged in the Pleasant Valley Library in November 2018 and destroyed nearly everything, A Little Beacon Blog was approached to host a bake sale fundraiser in our space in the Telephone Building we call A Little Beacon Space. The Beacon Teen Library Council is raising money to purchase books for Pleasant Valley’s teen Battle of the Books team, with any additional monies going directly to the fundraising efforts of the library. Dana Devine O’Malley, also known as 5 Hens Baked Goods, and teaches the Bakeology class for teens at that the library, will also be volunteering to help organize the bake sale.

Says Michelle Rivas of the Young Adults program at the Beacon Howland Public Library of the initiative: ”Knowing what Pleasant Valley Library was going through, we wanted to help. Participating in the Battle of the Books is a big part of the teen programs at our library. We wanted to make sure the teens in Pleasant Valley would still be able to participate in the competition even though the library was facing its challenges because of the fire.”

According to Michelle, they wanted to make the teen’s fundraising efforts more tangible and measurable by getting to see the books and help deliver them to Pleasant Valley. “When they see other teams compete,” Michelle said, “they know they played a part in making that happen.”

The bake sale will be on Sunday, May 19th, from 11am-3pm, at 291 Main Street in A Little Beacon Space inside of the Telephone Building. And it will be delicious. Those interested in baking donated goods can contact Michelle Rivas at community@beaconlibrary.org.

Common Ground Farm's Opening of the Fields Event

Common Ground Farm invites visitors for a contemplative walk through the early spring fields on Saturday April 13th at 1pm. The walk will be guided by Farm Director, Sarah Simon, with reflection and commentary shared from the faith traditions of food access partners and community leaders, including: Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance, Lt. Leilani Rodríguez-Alarcón of Salvation Army, Pastor Ben Larson-Wolbrink of First Presbyterian Church, Pastor Bill Dandreano of Salem Tabernacle, and Sarah Capua.

Everyone Welcome To Celebrate The Growing Season

The Opening of the Fields walk is an opportunity to appreciate the potential abundance of the fields as well to reflect upon the changes and uncertainty inherent in nature. Farming can be isolating work, and the farmers look forward to sharing the springtime activities on a Hudson Valley vegetable farm. Visitors can park by the red barns and meet the group by the picnic tables. Hot tea and snacks will be provided, and guests are welcome to stay and picnic afterwards if the weather is fine. The event is free and open to all. Common Ground Farm welcomes everyone to visit the farm and help celebrate the start of the growing season.

Farm Director, Sarah Simon states, “Both hope and uncertainty shape the beginning of the growing season on the farm. The traces of last year's labor have faded, winter has claimed what was once green and lush, and the farm is just beginning to wake up again as the soil starts to warm and the sun begins to shine.”

About Common Ground Farm

Common Ground Farm is a community farm dedicated to food justice, which donates produce to six different local food pantries and soup kitchens each week during their growing season. This event is an opportunity for the farm’s valued community partners to visit the place where the produce is grown, and to see the fields that will feed their communities from May until November. Many of the soup kitchens and food pantries are organized by religious organizations, and on the walk the farm has invited the leaders of these churches, synagogues, and mosques to share blessings and teachings about nature, food and land from their traditions. There will also be non-denominational teachings and blessings shared by community members.

Common Ground Farm donates weekly to the following food pantries:

  • Beacon Community Kitchen

  • Fishkill Food Pantry

  • First Presbyterian in Wappingers Falls

  • New Vision Church of Deliverance

  • St Andrews Episcopal Church in Beacon

  • Occasionally to: Salvation Army in Beacon, Dutchess Outreach in Poughkeepsie

Last Chance To Purge Your Kid Stuff For A Cause: Ree Play Sale Accepting Toys/Clothing/Gear

Photo Credits: Wee Play Community Project

Photo Credits: Wee Play Community Project

Going on now is prep work for the annual Ree Play Sale, from the Wee Play Community Project, one of the best affordable kid stuff weekend sales around. Best part is: your purchases of kid stuff goes directly to funding kid spaces in Beacon, including the playgrounds at the public parks, as well as some programming at the Library and Rec Center by way of the blue Blocks Project and Lego Club. The Wee Play Project was started many years ago by volunteering parents, and continues today as the torch is passed from graduating parents to younger parents.

Ways To Help: Sort, Bake, Work, Shop

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The first way to help and get involved is to donate your stuff. Collection for this yearly event is going on now - so this is your chance. Bring your stuff to the University Settlement Camp: 724 Wolcott Avenue. This is also the location of the Beacon Pool and Frisbee golf (but up the dirt road, just beyond it).

If getting your stuff together now is overwhelming, either take the plunge, and then start a pile in your attic or basement that you put things in over the year. This makes getting all of your Ree Play stuff really easy.

If you’ve got nothing to donate, another way you can be involved is to Bake, or Shop. Shopping is the easiest! But sorting through everything is really important, and the best time to make new friends. The actual sale is April 26, 27, 28.

Trauma Note: To not traumatize your kids that you are now purging all of their old clothes, toys, games, dolls, sports stuff, etc., involve them in the process. Stuff can be emotional. Explain where the things are going. Give them the option to donate, or to keep. As they know, the room can fill up, and the only way to make room for new treasures is to give your treasure to someone else, or keep it in a forever place in your house. It might be exciting to think that their old plastic basketball hoop will help buy a new swing at Memorial or Green Street Park.

Great Way To Meet People

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New parents often want to meet new people and build their community, and bringing your stuff to the Ree Play sale is a great way to do that. If you have nothing to donate, you could sort. It’s easy, no pressure, sorting clothes into piles, or shoes onto shelves, or games into a lineup. Plus, if you sort, you might get first dibs on purchasing new/old stuff.

Times To Donate

Most of the times to donate or volunteer are announced on Instagram or Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, then Instagram would be the best way for you to see times that they post. Most donation and sorting times are volunteer based. In other words, can only happen if someone has volunteered to be there. Maybe that’s you!

Recent Projects Ree Play Has Been Behind

Lots of what you have seen outside in Beacon’s parks has had an injection of Ree Play Sale cash to support it. The most recent project is the Wee Woods. This is a mini woods-within-woods scene behind the playground at Memorial Park, designed by One Nature with community input. There are natural playthings like logs and willow arches.

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Follow Wee Play’s Instagram or FaceBook for updates. They do have a newsletter which you could subscribe to here. If making newsletters is your thing, volunteer to send theirs a bunch!

Don’t wait on this. Donate your stuff today or this week!

Highlands Current Raises $75K + New Donors In Local End-Of-Year Fundraiser

Photo Credit: Main Photo from Highlands Current; Graphic Design by A Little Beacon Blog

Photo Credit: Main Photo from Highlands Current; Graphic Design by A Little Beacon Blog

The Highlands Current is a local newspaper covering Beacon and Cold Spring. Their office is in Cold Spring, and they started out covering that neck of the woods. However, the publisher felt that too many connections between Beacon and Cold Spring were going unreported, so he elected to officially include Beacon in the newspaper’s coverage. The founding publisher has since passed away, and a board of directors helps to guide the direction of the paper now.

The Highlands Current ran an advertising campaign with A Little Beacon Blog in order to help the paper get the word out about their Double-Match Opportunity. Our position about media is - support it! Especially with local media! We know that media friendships are important, and we not only support and read the paper, but we appreciate their advertising investment as well. We know how precious it is!

We asked Managing Editor Chip Rowe how they did with the fundraiser. Here’s what he said:

 

Thank you to all Beaconites who helped to make The Highlands Current's year-end fundraising appeal a success. We couldn't have done it without you!

We raised enough funds to qualify for a $25,000 match from the NewsMatch program, a consortium of foundations, including the Knight and MacArthur funds, that are dedicated to helping nonprofit enterprises like The Current. And we'll receive another $25,000 from a generous local donor who also pledged to match that amount. So, with your help, we’re receiving an extra $50,000 to enable us tell your stories this year.

We're also very pleased to have added more than 100 new donors, nearly half of all are from Beacon! This feat will earn us a bonus from NewsMatch. And this growing community of supporters underlines the value put on the news and cultural coverage The Current provides.

We’re looking forward to another year of robust reporting on Beacon and neighboring Highlands communities. Thank you once again for helping us tell your stories!

- Chip Rowe
Managing Editor, The Highlands Current

 

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum to Offer 2nd “Free Pizza and Play Night” for Families of Federal Workers Affected by Government Shutdown

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The first free Pizza and Play Night from The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum was appreciated by many. The museum has decided to host a second one. Local families of federal employees affected by the current government shutdown are invited to a second night of free pizza and play on Wednesday, January 16, from 5 to 8 pm. The first event, held on Thursday, January 10, was well-received. "Attendees at our event last week were very happy to see fellow employees, and meet others who are in the same situation,” said Lara Litchfield-Kimber, executive director of the museum. "We had some older children attend also. We had some STEM activities set up for them to do. Everyone had fun."

Those who participated in the museum’s first free night for federal employees are encouraged to attend again. New families are also welcome for a night of food and fellowship. A buffet dinner will be provided, including pizza generously donated by Chef Joel Trocino of Amici’s Restaurant, 35 Main St., Poughkeepsie.

Free admission to the event is for two adults (one of whom must be a federal employee) and their children living in same household. Couples, singles and seniors without children are also welcome to attend this event and join in for dinner, conversation and play. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Tickets may be reserved online at http://bit.ly/MHCMFederalFreeNight or by calling the museum during business hours at (845) 471-0589.

The museum is located in the heart of the historic waterfront in Poughkeepsie, nestled between two city parks, just steps away from the Poughkeepsie Metro-North train station and fabulous restaurants.

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum Offers “Free Pizza & Play Night” for Families of Federal Workers Affected by Government Shutdown

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum invites local singles, couples and seniors without children, and families of federal employees affected by the current government shutdown to a free night of pizza and play on Thursday, January 10, from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Free admission to the event is for two adults (one of whom must be a federal employee) and their children living in the same household. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Tickets may be reserved online at http://bit.ly/MHCMFederalemployeefreenight or by calling the museum during business hours at (845) 471-0589. Pizza will be generously donated by Chef Joel Trocino of Amici’s Restaurant, 35 Main St., Poughkeepsie.

This event is best suited for families with young children (ages 0-7). All adults admitted must be accompanying children and attendees must show federal ID to enter. Parental supervision is required at all times. No drop-offs are permitted. Free parking is available at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, with overflow parking at Waryas Park.

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is the ideal destination for families with young children. Recent awards include Hudson Valley Magazine’s “2017 Best Museum” and “2018 Best Birthday Parties,” Hudson Valley’s “2018 and 2017 Favorite Kid-Friendly Museum” and “#1 in the “2018 Top 20 Places to Take Kids in the Hudson Valley” by Kids Out And About. With exhibits that focus on early literacy, art, STEM, and the local community, the museum provides an educationally rich environment through which children have the opportunity to develop foundational skills, to engage in purposeful play, and to develop interpersonal connections.

The museum is located in the heart of the historic waterfront in Poughkeepsie, nestled between two city parks, just steps away from the Poughkeepsie Metro-North train station and fabulous restaurants. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm, and on select Monday holidays. Admission is $10 per person. Children under 1 year are free. Visit mhcm.org or call (845) 471-0589 for more information.

The Highlands Current Needs Your Help! Seeking Fundraising To Continue Covering Beacon

The Highlands Current is a local newspaper you’ve seen around town, stacked in storefronts, and now in the blue boxes that keep popping up on street corners. The paper is a nonprofit organization, and while they do rely on advertising, they count on individual donations more - 75% of publishing costs come from donors! The paper, which is distributed for FREE, is in the final, heated days of their big fundraising appeal, and needs Beacon’s help! Beaconites are so important to the publication, that the paper has invested in an ad campaign here at A Little Beacon Blog to help them get the word out. And you know we love helping to spread the good word.

Years ago, the Highlands Current was launched and covered Cold Spring, Garrison, Nelsonville and North Highlands. In 2015, they expanded their coverage to include Beacon by dedicating at least two reporters, Jeff Simms and Brian PJ Cronin, to cover the Beacon “beat” (newspaper term), as well as Alison Rooney to feature stories on the arts, Michael Turton with some articles (he also delivers the papers all around town) and Pamela Doan, the editor of the Calendar section that includes Beacon events in their roundup. And now I too have joined the ranks as a columnist with my “Kid Friendly” column over there. If you attend City Council or Board of Education meetings, you stand a good chance of seeing Jeff or Brian in the unofficial “press box” (aka somewhere in the front rows).

Highlands Current Quick To Report On Important Issues

Thanks to this dedication, The Highlands Current is often the first to report on big changes coming out of our City Council - changes that impact your daily life here in Beacon. Also because of this investment, their reporters follow different events each week at these meetings, so are super familiar with the twists and turns the issues make, and often weave these significant details into their articles for better context. Because they print on paper, a newspaper doesn’t get to use as much space as a blog does, so often they have to select their words so carefully, and cram hours’ worth of events and pages of supporting documents into three tiny paragraphs!

The paper published this picture to show how two Beacon Reporters  work from the Telephone Building  through Beahive’s shared office space.

The paper published this picture to show how two Beacon Reporters work from the Telephone Building through Beahive’s shared office space.

Beacon Newspaper Reporters Work From The Telephone Building

Little known fact to bolster your Beacon trivia base: The Highlands Current stations their reporters out of the Telephone Building in Beahive’s shared work space. A Little Beacon Blog also has our office in the Telephone Building! It’s fun to be in a communications hub like this.

Fundraising Opportunity - Double Match Going On Now ’Til December 31!

Thanks to a grant from NewsMatch and an anonymous donor, any contribution from $1 to $1,000 will be matched two times until December 31! Even if you gave just $10, it matters!

Yes, the dollars help, but new donors are equally important. New donors signal to the newspaper that you care, and you want their coverage to continue. If you have already donated to the Highlands Current this year, consider asking your spouse or best friend to also donate if they haven’t yet. #NewDonorAlert!

PS: If you are reading this article after December 31, 2018, you can still donate! Every little bit helps.

Food For Fines Going On Now At Howland Public Library

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The Food for Fines program at Beacon’s Howland Public Library is going on now through Sunday, December 30. This is your chance to do double-duty on clearing your late fines at the library, at the same time as donating to a food pantry.

While the program is called Food for Fines, the library encourages you to donate personal-care items too, like tampons, adult diapers (Depends), and even new socks. People do a lot of walking, and it’s hard to do in run-down socks! Conveniently, Rite Aid is located almost across the street, where you can find a lot of these items! Think baby formula, toothpaste, shampoo… anything you would want to help take care of yourself or your family.

Toy Drive Collections for Drop-Off Toy Donations In And Around Beacon

Pictured here is the 2018 toy collection at Beacon Pilates.  Photo Credit: Beacon Pilates and A Little Beacon Blog

Pictured here is the 2018 toy collection at Beacon Pilates.
Photo Credit: Beacon Pilates and A Little Beacon Blog

Every year, community organizations fire up toy drives to help donate to kids in need. If you’re looking to donate toys to these drives, it’s best to mark your calendar for just before Thanksgiving, as that’s when these opportunities start opening up - some are even as early as October, like Toys for Tots. It’s good to get an early start too with Adopt-a-Family programs, which require more attention to detail in terms of what kind of toys you are purchasing for which family member. So mark your calendar for mid-November to return to this list to get a head start! And subscribe to our newsletter to get early advance notice.

If you missed a toy deadline and really want to give, consider a donation to the organization the toy is being collected for instead.

Things to know about Toy Drive Collections:

  • Wish Lists: Generally, the organization provides guidance on what type of gift to give. They know their kids and what they need or want.

  • New: Toys need to be new and in original packaging.

  • Usually Unwrapped: Usually the Wish List will ask for unwrapped toys.

  • No Guns or Other Violent Toys: Even if your kids love it, there is extra sensitivity for these kids.

BEACON PILATES

Beacon Pilates is collecting new toys for Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie.
Kids: 80 kids live in 11 facilities, ages newborn to 21 years
Wish List: Click here for the wish list and gift guidance. Juliet, the owner of Beacon Pilates, also has a list of individual wish list items. Email info@beaconpilates.com for more specific recommendations.
Location Drop-Off: Beacon Pilates, 18 West Main St., Beacon, NY (near Brett’s Hardware)
Times: 9 am to 9 pm
Deadline: Now through Saturday, December 15, 2018
The Children’s Home is dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing environment that improves lives and empowers at-risk children and families in the Hudson Valley and surrounding communities. The Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie provides residential care on the main campus in Poughkeepsie, in agency boarding homes or group homes off campus and apartments in the community. On any given day, over 90 children receive services in one of the home’s programs.

The STUDIO @ BEACON

The Studio @ Beacon is collecting new toys for Toys For Tots.
Location Drop-Off: The Studio @ Beacon, 301 Main St., Beacon, NY (next to Royal Crepes)
Deadline: Go now!
The basic mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The primary goal of Marine Toys for Tots is, through the gift of a new toy, help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America's less fortunate children. In order to better execute the program, in 1991 the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was created at the behest of the Marine Corps.

BEACON’S SALVATION ARMY

The Salvation Army of Beacon is collecting toys via their “Angel Tree” at two locations with Wish Tags. Says Captain Leilani Alarcon: “We have toy wishes, and usually also like to get a couple of warm outfits, since most of the kids that participate are needy and their parents can’t afford to buy coats and boots, and such. Everything desired is on the tag. Wherever the tag is picked up, is a drop-off location, or people can bring them directly to our location in Beacon - the church. My email and cell information are on the tags for people to arrange drop-offs at our building.
Kids: Captain Leilani Alarcon described to us the types of children they reach with this toy drive: “Most of the kids for our toy drive are from low-income housing (Tompkins Terrace), as well as needy families that have come all the way from Hopewell and Poughkeepsie because they missed sign-in dates at the Poughkeepsie Salvation Army. Kids also are sent from Social Services or from our Food Pantry Assistance Families here in the church as well. We have decided not to set an age range, since most older children get forgotten by most programs, so we have kids from 0 to 16.“
Wish List: Select a tag from the Angel Tree. It will have an exact idea.
Location Drop-Offs:
Planet Fitness in Wappingers Falls: 1572 U.S. 9, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Hilton Garden at Fishkill: 25 Westage Drive, Fishkill, NY 12524
Salvation Army Church in Beacon: 372 Main St., Beacon NY (drop-off only, the Angel Trees are at the above locations). The main entrance of the church is actually behind it, by their parking lot off of Fishkill Avenue. Tuesdays and Thursdays are best for dropping off toys or bringing a donation to their Food Pantry (even year-round), as that is when their receptionist is there. Or, you can email Captain Leilani Alarcon at Leilani.Alarcon@USE.SalvationArmy.Org to make arrangements for other days.
Deadline: Now through Wednesday, December 19, 2018

LIBBY FUNERAL HOME

Libby Funeral Home is collecting stuffed stockings for Stockings For Soldiers.
Location Drop-Off: Libby Funeral Home, 55 Teller Ave., Beacon, NY (near Stock Up)
Deadline: Now through Saturday, December 15, 2018
If filling stockings brings you joy during the holiday season, and so does giving the stockings to someone who isn’t expecting them, then this holiday initiative is for you. Libby Funeral Home has set up a free stocking for you to take home, decorate and stuff to the brim with holiday cheer. You will receive a list of recommended items along with the stocking. Libby Funeral & Cremation Services will ship the stockings (at their expense) to troops abroad in time for the holidays.
Details >

GRACE SMITH HOUSE

Grace Smith House organizes an annual Adopt-A-Family program.
Deadline: Now through Friday, December 14, 2018
During the holiday season, Grace Smith House opens its doors to countless survivors of domestic violence and their families. They need your help to provide holiday joy to the families shelter serve. Consider adopting a family for this holiday season. You can be matched with a family and their recommended gift list, and the matching process is going on now. See here for more information on how to apply.
Details >

ALL SPORT HEALTH + FITNESS

All Sport Health + Fitness is collecting select gifts via a wish-list tree. To participate, go to the fitness center and take a wish off the tree. Fulfill the wish, and bring it back!
Location Drop-Off: All Sport, 17 Old Main St., Fishkill, NY 12524
Deadline: Go now!

LOVE HOLDS LIFE AT LEWIS TOMPKINS HOSE CO. #1 OF THE BEACON FIRE DEPARTMENT

The fifth annual Toy Giveaway in Honor of Carmen Viruet-Senato is being hosted with the help of Love Holds Life Children’s Cancer Foundation. They are collecting new and unwrapped toys for children ages 2 to 14 years old, to be distributed on Saturday, December 15, with Cookies and Cocoa with Santa at Lewis Tompkins Hose Co. #1. According to Southern Dutchess News, the event is in honor of Carmen Viruet-Senato, co-founder of LHL. The event is in memory of Leticia Dos Santos. Richard Senato, founder of LHL, said Leticia was 16 years old when she passed from Stage 4 bone cancer. She created the Cookies and Cocoa event with Senato and Viruet-Senato five years ago.
Location Drop-Off: 13 South Ave., Beacon, NY
Deadline: Donation deadline is Friday, December 7.
Event for any child to receive a free toy is Saturday, December 15 from 10 am to 1 pm. All are invited.
Love Holds Life helps children and their families financially battling cancer, on a national level from their offices located in New York's Hudson Valley region. Love Holds Life provides financial support for their medical treatments and expenses not covered by insurance. LHL’s ultimate mission is to ensure children with love and life. Their financial program consists of funding a child’s medical deductible, co-payment, co-insurance and prescriptions, along with travel reimbursement to and from treatment. Donations received from individuals, foundations, corporations and other local organizations help to fund each child and their family.
NOTE: To be a drop-off location for Love Holds Life, please contact their office at (845) 592-4544

As we hear of more Toy Drive Collections, we will update this list. Keep refreshing the page!

How to Submit

If you are running a toy drive, please email details in the format matching the above listings to editorial@alittlebeaconblog.com. Thanks!

Fundraiser For Beacon High School's "The Beacon Players"

We love supporting The Beacon Players - Beacon High School Drama and Theater Arts organization - at A Little Beacon Blog. This group goes above and beyond when putting a production together for the community to enjoy. Fans of The Beacon Players will know that tickets to their shows are only $5 and would like to keep it this way. That’s why the group is asking all of us to support and check out their new Snap!Raise Fundraising page.

The Beacon Players are raising money for costumes, art supplies, set building materials, and advertising. Your support will help them offer a higher quality experience for all participants and is vital to the success of the program.  With a goal of $3,000, they are almost halfway there as of this write-up.

The next production presented by The Beacon Players will be A Chorus Line, one of the longest-running shows on Broadway, the weekend of December 7-9, 2018. You can purchase your tickets here.

Giving Tuesday Guide: A Little Sampling for 2018

Photo Credit: Collage of screenshots of websites of the organizations below.

Photo Credit: Collage of screenshots of websites of the organizations below.

For this year’s Giving Tuesday Guide, we wanted to shine the light on groups we don’t talk about often enough, who serve people in Beacon or the Hudson Valley at large. If you have ideas of who we should highlight next year, submit them in the comments below. If you’re reading this article after Giving Tuesday, you can of course donate any day of the year!

EDITORIAL NOTE: The descriptions of the Missions and What They Do have been taken from each organization’s own website (with the exception of ARF), to best describe how they serve:

The Ramps at Memorial Park aka A Beacon Skatepark

Photo Credit: Facebook page of The Ramps at Memorial Park.

Photo Credit: Facebook page of The Ramps at Memorial Park.

MISSION: After years without a place to ride in Beacon, a small group of dedicated volunteers have partnered with the City of Beacon Parks and Recreation department to bring a skatepark back to Beacon. They are fundraising to turn the dream into a reality and build the park together with the community.

HOW THEY DO IT: With visions, builders, grit, and a lot of lumber. You can see in-progress pictures here at their Instagram.

DONATE HERE >


Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF)

Photo Credit: Screenshot from ARF’s website.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from ARF’s website.

WHAT THEY DO: Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) provides shelter and caregiving to kitties, puppies, and adult cats and dogs. ARF tries to match the right animal with the right forever homes. You can see the dogs here, and the cats here.

HOW THEY DO IT: In addition to their daily caregiving to animals in their shelter, ARF partners with Pilots n Paws to be a shelter to animals who need it. Pilots n Paws is an organization that was founded by two pilots who were passionate about rescuing shelter animals in need. Pilots and plane owners volunteer their time, planes, and gas to transport animals from point A to point B. Shelters/rescues/fosters who want to save animals that would otherwise be euthanized and that not do well on a ground transport, and/or would otherwise have to travel long distances, will post a transport request with ARF.

DONATE HERE >


Photo Credit: Screenshot from The Highlands Current website.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from The Highlands Current website.

WHAT THEY DO: The Highlands Current is a local newspaper that has included Beacon in its regular coverage. They send a reporter, Jeff Simms, to most City Council meetings, as well as other city board meetings.

MISSION: The Highlands Current’s mission is to be a fair and trusted source of information for their Hudson Highlands communities, and to provide a lively forum for wide-ranging views.

HOW THEY DO IT: Through both their website, HighlandsCurrent.org, and their print edition, The Highlands Current, they seek to reflect the rich variety of interests, concerns and experiences of their readers and to communicate their stories in the most up-to-date manner possible. They will report without bias or favor for any particular agenda or partisan political point of view.
P.S.: I, Katie, have a monthly column here!

DONATE HERE >


SHRED Foundation

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the SHRED Foundation website.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the SHRED Foundation website.

WHAT THEY DO: SHRED focuses on instilling confidence among youth by using snowboarding to increase kids’ belief that they can and will succeed at whatever it is they put their mind to.

MISSION: Currently based in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions of New York, SHRED Foundation works to introduce the youth in local rural and urban areas to snowboarding, and to open their eyes to the opportunities and growth it provides. By harnessing the unifying power of snow/skate culture, SHRED works to inspire youth to follow an alternative path and to engage their drive and creativity to follow it. The majority of the kids that participate in the winter program have never stepped foot on a board. By teaching them something as simple as turning a piece of wood down a hill covered in snow, they walk away with so much more than a newfound passion for snowboarding.

HOW THEY DO IT: SHRED partners with local stakeholders (organizations, schools, local recreation departments, snow/skate companies, reps, shops, mountains, and brands) and values the importance of teaching its youth the core aspects of the culture, which include individuality, creativity, progression, entrepreneurial drive and community.

DONATE HERE >


Photo Credit: Screenshot from The Art Effect website.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from The Art Effect website.

MISSION: The Art Effect is committed to advancing young people’s journey from learning to leadership by engaging them in transformative practices in the arts and media that build future careers and foster personal development.

WHAT THEY DO: The Art Effect was born on January 1, 2018, as a result of the merger of Spark Media Project and Mill Street Loft, two impactful arts nonprofits based in Poughkeepsie, NY. With this merger, The Art Effect became a single, powerful arts education and youth development agency serving youth across the Hudson Valley.

Spark Media Project was founded in 1994 (originally named Children’s Media Project) by Maria Marewski. Spark Media Project, a media art, technology, and education organization, served young people, artists, schools and organizations in the Hudson Valley, with a focus on using media as a tool for creative expression, critical thinking, and skills development.

Mill Street Loft was founded in 1984 by Carole Wolf. Mill Street Loft delivered arts-based programming that has transformed the lives of thousands of residents and their families. Through visual arts courses, camps, and outreach programs, Mill Street Loft was committed to supporting personal growth, fostering self-expression, and enhancing human services through the arts in order to rebuild a shared sense of community.

HOW THEY DO IT: The Art Effect hosts events, classes, portfolio development, festivals, and an apprenticeship program

DONATE HERE >

Adopt A Family - Make Magic For Children Staying At Grace Smith House

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During the holiday season, Grace Smith House opens its doors to countless survivors of domestic violence and their families. They need your help to provide their shelter families with holiday joy. Consider adopting a shelter family for this holiday season. You can be matched with a family and their recommended gift list, and the matching process is going on now. See here for more information on how to apply.

Gifts must be new items. Grace Smith House asks that all gifts be delivered wrapped and tagged with the family members’ names (if provided on the form), and arrive at their offices no later than Friday, December 14, to ensure delivery to the appropriate family in time for the holidays. Please call well in advance to schedule an appointment for delivery.

Grace Smith House is a religiously and ethnically diverse community, hosting families from all walks of life. They ask that you consider donating toys and items that are inclusive and open to all members of their family. The shelter is often lacking in items such as African-American body and hair care products, nonwhite dolls, nondenominational gift wrapping, etc. “We are very grateful for our donors’ generosity and their consideration for the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of our residents,” as stated on their website.

Stockings for Soldiers - Stuff a Stocking For a Soldier, and Libby Funeral Home Ships It

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If filling stockings brings you joy during the holiday season, and so does giving the stockings to someone who isn’t expecting them, then this holiday initiative is for you. Libby Funeral Home has set up a free stocking for you to take home, decorate and stuff to the brim with holiday cheer. You will receive a list of recommended items along with the stocking.

Libby Funeral & Cremation Services will ship the stockings (at their expense) to troops abroad in time for the holidays. “Sending our heroes some good tidings and holiday cheer is a great way for us to show our support and appreciation for the sacrifices they make to keep our country safe and secure,” said Matthew Fiorillo, owner of Libby Funeral & Cremation Services.

Pickup of stockings is now through Saturday, December 15. You can stop by their Beacon location at 55 Teller Ave., Beacon, NY, 12508 (near Stock Up) on Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 2 pm to pick up your stocking and begin stuffing.

Another Way to Help: Recycled Cell Phones for Soldiers

FYI, for those looking to recycle their cell phones: Libby Funeral & Cremation Services is also an official drop-off center for Cell Phones for Soldiers. You can bring in your old cell phones to help American troops call home this holiday season. The old cell phones are recycled and turned into free calling cards for the soldiers. According to Matthew, businesses nationwide have so far collected enough old cell phones to provide American troops overseas with nearly four million free calling minutes.

Saturday: For Goodness Bake Fundraisers String Up Their Aprons Once More To Raise Money For A Family

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The For Goodness Bake event is a Beacon staple, and has become an annual event throughout the years. Started by Kristen Pratt and Tara Tornello, the community-sourced bake sale raises money for one particular cause that has demonstrated an urgent need in the community (see below for info on how you can bake). This year, the highly anticipated bake sale is on Saturday, November 10, from 10 am to 3 pm at 145 Main St. in Beacon (aka Beacon Healing Massage and Create Space), near Bank Square Coffeehouse.

Say Kristen and Tara as to what inspired them to put on their aprons: “We wanted to raise funds to help keep a beloved Beacon family together. For 4 years, this local family (who must remain anonymous) has helped to nurture a little boy who needed a home. Now his future and their family are in jeopardy as they face a difficult fight for his rights within a legal system that consistently puts political interests above the best outcomes for children.”

How This Bake Sale Works

Bakers from around the Hudson Valley will join the fundraising efforts by donating a variety of sweet and savory baked goods. Pay-what-you-can beverages and coffee will be provided by Drink More Good and Trax Espresso Bar & Coffee Roasters.

Now in its sixth year, For Goodness Bake has previously raised nearly $15,000 for local causes, including the Beacon After School Program Tuition Assistance Fund, the Beacon Community Kitchen, Green Teen Beacon, and the Kids R Kids Feeding Program.

To learn more about the event or to get involved, call (845) 518-4194 or email forgoodnessbakebeacon@gmail.com.

To donate baked goods, sign up via this link: http://signup.com/go/jsTeNdH

INSIDER TIP! They are accepting baked goods up until the last minute. So if you have mad baking skills, use ‘em! I have done it (I am not a baker) and it was a wonderful initiative to be a part of.

Simply drop off to to Kristen and Tara tonight (Friday) at 145 Main from 6 to 8 pm, or Saturday from 7 to 8 am.

If you are reading this article after the bake sale has ended, but want to offer to bake for another one, email forgoodnessbakebeacon@gmail.com and ask to be added to their notification list.

Photo Credit: For Goodness Bake

Photo Credit: For Goodness Bake

Photo Credit: For Goodness Bake

Photo Credit: For Goodness Bake

Photo Credit and Baker: Raquel Verdesi

Photo Credit and Baker: Raquel Verdesi

Photo Credit and Baker: Alena Morgan Brown

Photo Credit and Baker: Alena Morgan Brown

Photo Credit: For Goodness Bake

Photo Credit: For Goodness Bake

The River Pool at Beacon IN The Hudson River Opens for 2018!

The left side of The Beacon River Pool - eye level.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The left side of The Beacon River Pool - eye level.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

As you play at Riverfront Park, known since 2014 as Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park, you may have experienced the extreme desire to swim in the Hudson River to cool off. Well, now you can - because The River Pool at Beacon is open again this year! Starting in 2007, five years after submitting construction plans to New York State, the pool opened to the public for the first time. The river pool idea was originally proposed by the pool's co-founder, Pete Seeger, according to the pool's History page.

What's a River Pool?

The river pool is netted and shallow, with a net bottom designed by Meta Brunzema Architect P.C., a New York City-based design firm. You could crawl on it, with a child on your back, pretending you are an alligator gliding just under the water surface. Or you could sit or stand in the shallow water, enjoying the breeze off the water and gazing up or down the river, thankful you aren't in the traffic moving (or not moving) on the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge. Or, you could simply sit on the colorful plastic seats and bask in the sun, slipping further into the water as you're ready.

River pools aren't unique to this spot - they have been around since at least 1830, up and down the Hudson River - but they were removed after 1930 due to water pollution. Pete Seeger was a major advocate for cleanup of the Hudson River. Thanks to his efforts as well as many other organizations including Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper, the river has improved since then, and many groups and people continue to advocate in this direction.

Can Anyone Use the River Pool?

It's a free pool for all, thanks to support from individual donations, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Durst Organization, the Abrons Foundation, the Hudson River Foundation. The pool's organizers actually want to increase its size. They're working with another architecture firm to design a bigger pool, and they're talking with cities and towns to find the right location that offers agreeable environmental considerations.

What's It Like Swimming in the River Pool?

The changing room at The Beacon River Pool.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The changing room at The Beacon River Pool.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

So fun. So relaxing. You're IN the river, just sitting there protected from the currents by the anchored netting. The pool is small, so you'll be near others as they dip in and out of the pool. The pool is also very shallow: An adult is up to their waist or thighs. The River Pool is fully staffed by lifeguards, and even has a changing room!

If thunder rolls in and you need to leave the pool and wait 30 thunder-free minutes to go back in, you could always shoot baskets at the park's basketball court, or play on the playgrounds. Or have a picnic on the grass (watch out for alllll of the goose poop).

An additional perk: Riverfront Park is very breezy, so you'll be cooled off quickly down by the river no matter what.

Is Swimming in the Hudson River Safe?

The Hudson River was contaminated by companies who dumped pollutants into it for many years. An ongoing effort to clean up the Hudson River has spanned several decades. As of today, it has reached cleaner levels, but is closely monitored by The River Pool at Beacon. Says a representative from The River Pool this year: "The quality in Beacon Harbor is definitely of concern. Beacon Harbor had a long run of low numbers. We hope this is a temporary situation. That said, the pool is off the north shore of Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. The water is tested every week by the county health department. We would not open if the water was not considered safe for swimming."

Swim For The Pool - From Beacon To Newburgh!

Fundraising continues for the pool with regular donations that you can make at any time, and during the 15th Annual Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim, where you can sponsor a swimmer - or be a swimmer that people sponsor! See the Beacon to Newburgh Swim page for details.

Make a donation here to keep this all going, but don't worry if you can't. It was designed for all to be able to access and experience the Hudson River. See you at the pool!