What kid does not give it a fist pump when a snow day is called due to inclement winter weather? Diane Reeder knows: It’s the kid who was looking forward to that hot lunch served at school – perhaps his or her only full meal for the day. As executive director of Queens Galley in Kingston, she is well aware of the demographics of chronic hunger and under-nutrition in our country. When nearly 16 million children rely on school lunch programs for their primary food source, school closings means a lot of empty bellies.
In Kingston, the Queens Galley works with the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club to provide lunches to 100 children every snow day; and if all six scheduled snow days are declared, that means that 600 lunches will be served this season. Now in its fourth year, the program offers free lunches to every child in either drop-in facility, so that no child is singled out for being poor.
To support the work of the Queens Galley in this endeavor, the “Shiver Me Timbers! Pirate Invasion” is a fundraising effort now in progress, bringing shoppers into local businesses to bid in a silent auction for a variety of treasures. These include gift cards to area restaurants; boutique items in local shops; a guitar autographed by Cher; memberships to the YMCA in Kingston; a trip for two to a resort in Palm Desert, California; a premium package that offers two tickets to the World Series, including air travel, hotel and an autographed ball from the game; a hot air balloon ride; and lots of other great booty! For a complete listing of treasures being auctioned off, visit www.biddingforgood.com/qgbid, where you can bid online until Saturday, January 15.
Treasure-hunters can also visit any of the more than two dozen participating businesses to place a bid, where they will find a QR code on the bid sheet. Use of a smartphone to scan the code for treasure reveals food and drink special offers and free items offered by local artists. Each bid sheet has a unique QR code, and codes will change out during the treasure hunt to entice bidders to return to the stores. Participating businesses include the Parent Teacher Store, Blue 57, Stella’s, Full Circle, Rage Hair Salon, Deising’s, Paw Prints and Whiskers, Mario’s Trattoria, Bop to Tottom, the Market Basket, Knightly Endeavors, Boitson’s, Tonner Dolls, Savona’s Trattoria, On the Hill Antiques, Albrecht’s Hair Salon, Style Fabrics, the Flower Nest, Trend Salon, Mint, Rosita’s, Burgevin Florist, JK Wine and Liquor and B3 Burger Bar. Linda Scevola, owner of the participating boutique Full Circle, says, “It’s another way to get feet on the street, and that’s what we as small retailers need. It’s a really good cause and a win/win for Kingston businesses and residents.”
The Pirate Invasion activities will culminate this Sunday in the Rondout beginning at 4 p.m. with a professional storyteller at the Art Society of Kingston. Maura O’Meara will present Grace O’Malley, Pirate Queen of Western Ireland: Ruler Over Land & Sea and other tales of sea adventures. At 5 p.m. Gloria Waslyn will present her Parrots of Peace demonstration. A 6 p.m. auction finale will take place at Dermot Mahoney’s 40 Broadway, where all auction winners will be announced. And 3 Pints Shy will take the stage at 7 p.m. to offer up its carousing rum-and-beer songs. Aarrrrr!
Additionally, Mickey Hein, son of Ulster County Executive Mike and Christine Hein, has challenged students in all the area schools to see which class can collect the most non-perishable food for the Queens Galley snow day program. The food drive dropoff is at Dermot’s from noon to 6 p.m. that day.
Reeder chose the January 15 date to coincide with the Martin Luther King Day of Service, hoping to remind people that “as a nation, we do the most good when we remember to do something.” If you are unable to participate in the auction, consider volunteering to assemble lunches and make deliveries on snow days. For more information regarding volunteer or donation opportunities, please call the Queens Galley soup kitchen at (845) 338-3468 and visit www.thequeensgalley.org for more details.