December 15, 2017

   

Conshystuff Food Drive wrap up and THANK YOU!

Conshystuff Food Drive wrap up and THANK YOU!

12/6/2017

by Brian Coll

 

This may be an odd way to start talking about the Conshystuff Food Drive, but we listen to Harry Chapin a lot here at Coll’s Custom Framing. When you listen to his live CD’s he talks in between songs. In between songs he rambles, but he makes sense if you listen to what he is saying. In one particular instance he talks about a food drive at a school, he isn’t mocking it when he says something along the lines of….. this was the best food drive yet, you raised more pounds of food than you ever have, but what are those people going to eat when the food runs out?  This is our 5th year doing this Food Drive. Each year we have brought in more food than the previous year. We can’t thank all of you enough. Back to the question that Harry asks… what are those people going to eat when the food runs out? Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Let’s talk about the reasons we can’t let that happen and the system we have in place in our community.

You can always drop off canned goods, canned proteins, canned fruits and veggies, baby supplies, peanut butter and jelly, chunky type soups, rice, pasta, prepackaged sides and so on. They are always taking donations at the Colonial Neighborhood Council located at 107 East 4th Ave here in Conshohocken.

If you can only ship via Amazon, we created a wishlist, this is the link – Amazon Wishlist for the CNC .  We hope to maintain this year round as well as add things as they are needed. It is safe to buy off this list year round. You can always ship to Coll’s Custom Framing located at 324 Fayette Street. We never mind walking over and dropping off.

A very cool element was added this year by local networking and business group LoveConshy. They are hosting monthly mini food drives if you will, at one location a month between the businesses in the group. We are including the first two businesses in our total this year as Brian Pieri, Christina Pieri and general manager, John Mathas worked hard on bringing in food through the Pieri Restaurant Group (StoneRose, Bar Lucca & Cerdo). They had October and brought in close to 700 pounds alone. ‘feine’s Daniela De Souza along with Binnie Bianco had November and brought in close to 700 pounds. In addition to having these monthly food drives year round, they are also collecting donations for the Colonial Neighborhood Council. Between those two places alone and all of YOUR kindness approximately $3,000 was raised to help the CNC out in other areas when needed. Keep an eye out for the December business as well as others over the course of the year.

So, if you missed out on this years Conshystuff Food Drive, there is always time to help out. Hunger never stops, it never takes a day off, it doesn’t care if you are young or old, white, black, Hispanic, Asian. You can always give. And, we will always thank you.

 

The Colonial Neighborhood Council has been around for 50 years, this is the 50th year. That is incredible that a group of people got together to simply help other people.  When the CNC was formed, I don’t want to say there was more of a need, but the need was different. When the CNC was formed back in 1967 the median income of families was $8,000.00 the Federal requirements for poverty was a family whose income was under $3,500 per year, in Conshohocken more than 400 families were in this bracket, in Plymouth Township 230 families were below the poverty line and in Whitemarsh 200 families. Today the Colonial Neighborhood Council serves over 400 people on a monthly basis, each of those people have different needs. So, the number of people in need in our community has declined, but there is still a need, if there wasn’t we could have stopped hosting this food drive after the first year in 2013 when we brought in around 7,000 pounds. You would think 7,000 pounds of food goes a long way. It doesn’t. So, we hosted another food drive in 2014, where 14,000 pounds of food was collected and that did not last the year. In 2015, you guessed it, the food dried up somewhere before the school year ended. In 2016 we brought in over 20,000 pounds of food and we needed to have a peanut butter and Jelly drive earlier this year to keep these families from having hungry kids in the summer.

 

This year, we extended the dates of the food drive just to make sure we gave everyone enough time to get their offices together. To go shopping with the Conshystuff Food Drive in mind, not just clean out your pantry (although it is all appreciated) We once again leaned on Michelle Sague Abiuso and the amazing staff, faculty and students (we know parents, it all comes from you) at Saint Philip Neri.  Michelle brings a bus from the Sague bus company and parks it outside of the school and church there for a long weekend of giving. It seems everyone stops by to say hi to the students collecting food. It has become one of my favorite yearly traditions, and honestly not just part of the food drive. I love it. I brought my daughter this year for a period of time. She brought the students candy because they were doing a good job. On Monday morning,  the student council and a few teachers show up to unload at the CNC and boy is it a sight to see. For the second year in a row the staff from Saint Claire CPA’s come out to help the students unload the bus. We can’t thank you all enough.

At one point during the collection one of our fine volunteer firemen came to me with an idea, and a challenge. He wanted to see if any other fire companies in the area could raise some food for the cause. So, we put out a challenge to all of the local fire companies. The challenge was simple; who can bring the most food. We have to thank all of the local fire companies, not only for your donations, but all the good that you do in the community. I met with members of George Clay Fire Company, Washies Fire Company, Bridgeport (the young lady was on her way to Disney, but wanted to make sure we got the food they collected, we hope she is having a great time). Now, for the winning fire company. Drumroll please…. BARREN HILL. That’s right, the BARREN HILL FIRE COMPANY brought just over a ton of food, that is over 2,000 pounds of food. Thank you to everyone who helped fill the fire truck. Nancy, thank you for organizing. Please let me know when you would like a group photo taken at the fire house.

If you have been with us for 5 years now, you may have noticed something different this year. We did NOT offer raffle prizes at our drop off points. When we started this we thought people would need something to entice them to donate, what we have found out every year is we have an awesome community and the people didn’t need extra incentive. Seeing photos of bare shelves is enough for the community. In fact, sometimes people would win a gift certificate to a local restaurant and ask us to find someone who could use it more. Maybe give it to one of the families that need the CNC. We saw this time and time again. We want to thank all of the restaurants and local businesses that were willing to give this year and have given in the past. We are truly blessed to be a part of this amazing community.

We have to thank the local businesses that were drop off points, many of whom have been with us since the beginning:

 

Antioch Church     *     Coll’s Custom Framing 324 Fayette St.     *     Conicelli Dealerships     *     Conshohocken Italian Bakery     *     Conshohocken Physical Therapy     *     Conshohocken Library      *      Coldwell Banker     *     Bryn Mawr Trust       *     DeStolfo’s Premier Martial Arts      *       ‘feine      *     Hair Designer      *     Heaven and Earth Salon     *      HOW Properties     *     The Hussey Team @ GMH Mortgage      *      Keller Williams (Ridge Pike)       *
Keller Williams (Conshohocken – Matt Donnelly & Mike Sroka)     *     PIT (Prime Intensity Training)     *     ReMax Ready     *     Rouge Salon     *     Sal’s Barber Shop     *     Tone Zone Fitness Studio     *     Yoga Home      *     Bowe’s Exxon *

There was an awesome Kick off party hosted by our friend JP Hussey. JP saw the need, he had a vision and every year now he has had a party to help out. ( JP is the Mortgage Man! If you need to re-fi or are buying see JP) . The Philadelphia Avengers were there, there was an ice cream truck from Bryn Mawr Trust, there were people having fun and guess what, the shelves started looking a little better.   Paul Mazzochetti and the Coldwell Banker crew show up big not only at the kick off event but through the entire Food Drive!  Next year, please come out to the Kick Off Party.

 

A few companies that we would like to acknowledge….   

Rumsey Electric, Berkshire Hathaway,  DiRenzo contracting, St. Marks Church, Ridge Park school, Dom Coccia the accountant, Dom Conicelli the car guy! To say car guy is really downplaying it, Dom and his family grew up here and made roots here and provide jobs here and when his neighbors need a little help, well, he helps. Thanks Dom and the entire Conicelli family. HOW Properties (new owners of Leeland mansion, good luck with it) the Conshohocken VFW, not only did they collect food and make multiple drop offs they raised over $700 for the CNC. The Boyscouts were amazing as always. Sal’s barber shop. Sal and his wife went out and just bought a car full of shampoo and personal care items. While there, Sal saw a family with 10 kids, 10 kids and offered to take care of the young men in the family with a nice Thanksgiving haircut on the house. How cool is that? Quaker Chemical, one of the oldest industrial giants in the borough came by with some food as did Campus ION. Mercy Health Group came by and were thrilled to help out. Brixmor, you may have seen the sign on Fayette Street had an office collection once again. IKEA, yes that IKEA came by with a nice collection. We said the Boyscouts, and the Cubscouts came by once again. Keystone properties held an office collection. One of the cool things was to see The Judge Group show up, even after they moved out of West Conshohocken they knew the CNC needed the help. GIANT Food Markets had the $10 boxes available this year and it was a sight for sore eyes when they showed up with close to 50 boxes. So many people just dropped off and didn’t sign in or ask for any recognition. KinderCare really focused on baby needs, and it really helped. This year, was the first year we focused on the baby stuff, between diapers and formula and baby food we were absolutely amazed at the donations that came in for the littles.  These are all high tickets items that don’t really weigh a lot. We appreciate everyone who took what was truly needed to heart and helped out. It broke my heart when I realized there was an empty baby section. In all reality it had probably been there for years and I just never noticed it because it was ALWAYS EMPTY. No longer. No longer thanks to all of YOU!  

There were two ladies who dropped off food every week on payday at Coll’s Custom Framing. We knew what day of the week it was just by your visits. Please don’t stop coming by.

 

This doesn’t happen without all of YOU. I have to take one more minute and thank an inner circle if you will. My sister Jackie Coll deserves more credit than anyone when it comes to this food drive. Jackie works hand in hand with all the businesses. She coordinates with the Fill a Bus, she organizes volunteers, she keeps me sane not only during the food drive but year round and she is the best aunt in the entire world to my little ones. Jackie along with Julie Ganzel Donovan (the most incredible women in the world)  created the Amazon wishlist.  The Amazon boxes arrived almost daily for three weeks!  This was a great way for those of you that moved away but still hold Conshohocken in your hear to donate local.   

When it came time for Thanksgiving, a gentleman named Mike Spampinato wanted to buy the turkeys for these families in need, he did great raising the funds and buying the turkeys, but turkey needs a little help. That is when I called one of the greatest mothers and softball players I know, my friend Dana Trego. She got a few of her kids friends parents together and hit the stores hard for the mashed potatoes, stuffing, onion rings for a green bean casserole. My daughter Nora deserves a little shout out. I think she asked most days if we had food to go over to the CNC, and she surprised me a couple times while we were shopping, I would put a peanut butter in the cart for our household and she would ask, can we get one for the CNC, our friends need it. Even typing that a little tear comes to my eye, she is so kind and caring. This happened more than once….. so if the credit card bill is a little high this month go easy on me Anna….

 

The grand total for 2017, for the CONSHYSTUFF FOOD DRIVE is

 

Sandi Fryer, the executive director of the Colonial Neighborhood Council with me (Brian Coll) this morning.

If you can’t read that sign…. it says 29,487 pounds of food this year.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you….  We are incredibly humbled by all of your generosity and have been brought to tears by it.

 

 

Thank you Barren Hill Fire Company. Winners of the Fire Company challenge.

Coldwell Banker is always amazing. Special Thank you to Paul Mazzochetti who is a fantastic shopper with coupons.

 

Tom Smith, myself and Walt Hartnett from the VFW

The Antioch Church is amazing. This is only a small part of what they do in our community. We are lucky to have them. Thank you Pastor Joe.

Michelle Sague, please thank everyone at the school for us. We can’t thank you enough.

It was a blessing when JP Hussey came into our lives and created the Kick Off Party for the Conshystuff Food Drive. Our kids are now a part of it, and JP’s little brother Nick!

Philadelphia Avengers, wow. You guys rock! Thank you for everything. Pictured with Nick Fury, Spider-Man and Captain America are myself (Brian Coll) my sister Jackie Coll, Jessica Frost and Julie Donovan.

This could be the best photo ever. My daughter is so happy to work along side Jane Roe from Bryn Mawr Trust bank.

The Philadelphia Avengers posed with a hometown hero. Ron Januzelli in the middle with myself on the left and Clint gates on the right. While Clint isn’t an official part of the food drive, he helps out every chance he can. Thanks Clint.

 

 

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