Gift Tree changes

The Fourth and Maple Complex in Allegany will be the new drop-off, pick-up site for the annual Gift Tree program.

ALLEGANY — Gift Tree organizer Megan Davis announced Wednesday the drop-off and pick-up location for the annual holiday program has been changed this year.

Davis, executive director of Interfaith Caregivers, said the site has been moved from the Robert H. Livingston Community Center in Allegany to the Fourth and Maple Complex as the former location is currently being used to conduct Covid-19 tests for Cattaraugus County.

The annual program, which is more than 20 years old and sponsored by Interfaith and the Olean Times Herald, coordinates area businesses, schools, organizations and residents to provide holiday gifts for families and individuals they “adopt” in the county.

Families are referred to Gift Tree by local schools and human service agencies that have identified their needs. Gift Tree applications, instructions and general information has been emailed to participating agencies and the deadline for the program to receive the referral applications is noon on Nov. 2.

“We do have applications and I suspect they’ll be trickling in throughout the week,” Davis said, noting the program provided gifts to 114 families in 2019. That number included an additional eight families that were adopted by the program through monetary donations provided by the community.

It is hoped the community will be able to adopt this same amount of needy families in 2020, or provide donations to purchase gifts for the recipients.

The Complex, which is the site of the former Allegany High School, will be accessed for the program from the rear parking lot of the building. This will lead participants into an area called The Hall which is a large space for receptions that had at one time housed the cafeteria.

“It is outfitted to meet our needs,” Davis said of The Hall. “We’ll have it set up like we usually do. We can do curbside pick-up from people to accommodate whoever we can.”

Others are welcome to bring their gift packages inside but are asked to wear masks and maintain social distancing in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines.

Davis said she is grateful to the Allegany Fire Department for the years the Community Center was provided for the program — and for giving her an early “heads-up” on Gift Tree’s need to find other accommodations.

“I understand when things came up and their needs changed during Covid,” she said in reference to the testing site.

As for the program, Davis said she is hopeful that area residents will want to adopt families or provide monetary donations to “lead us to a great Gift Tree season again this year — especially this year.”

The Gift Tree adoption list will be published in Tuesday editions of the Times Herald beginning Nov. 10. An updated Gift Tree listing will run each Tuesday in November in the Times Herald or until all families are adopted.

The Gift Tree listing will be available in print and for e-subscribers of the Times Herald.

The Complex is located on North Fourth Street in Allegany with the drop-off day for gifts slated for Dec. 10 and the agency pick-up day will be Dec. 11. Agencies will be assigned pick-up times.

Referral applications, or donations for the program, can be mailed to Gift Tree, P.O. Box 319, Olean, NY 14760. More information on Gift Tree or Interfaith can also be obtained by calling 372-6283 or visiting www.interfaithcaregiversinc.org

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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