Crocker Farm/Amherst Lions Winter Drive

On December 3rd, Todd Cromack drove to Crocker Farm School with a pick-up truck loaded with bags full of donated coats, hats, jackets and gloves for those in need of the proper New England weather gear. Cromack, a silver-haired, benevolent member of the Amherst Lions Club organized the Lions Club component of the the Crocker Farm/Amherst Lions Winter Clothing Share, in conjunction with Erika Zekos and Michael Henry of the Crocker Farm School Parent Guardian Organization who manned the school's coat drive.
For the past six years the Parent Guardian Organization at Crocker Farm School has sponsored an annual winter share; this being the first year that Amherst Lions has participated in the effort. ìWe wanted to be more involved with the community needs,î said Cromack. The Amherst Lions were able to collect 40-60 coats and jackets that were collected at four different locations throughout town, including the Amherst Library and Amherst Media. In addition to the winter coats, the Lions also donated a crosswalk safety sign to Crocker Farm School complete with the Amherst Lions insignia.
On the chilly Friday morning, piles of coats were being sorted out of boxes and bags to be stacked on cafeteria tables, snow boots were put on display, as racks were being filled in preparation for distribution on the following Monday. It was as as though the weather had been anticipating the winter share, for the temperatures drastically dropped over the weekend while the wind decided to pick up. Therefore, creating an immediate need of properly insulated winter wear.
On Monday morning at 10:30, Erika Zekos signed in as a visitor in the main office and began her volunteer shift at the winter drive. The coats were counted for the approximate total of 130 coats which did not include other items such as hats, mittens, and snow pants. By the end of her volunteer shift a dozen visitors had dropped by, ìWe've really done our best to make sure everybody knows about, and whether anybody acts on it is out of our hands,î said Erika. The specifics needs of the children at Crocker Farm School was the initial cause of the beginnings of the winter share, but throughout the years it expanded to help the greater community. ìOne mom came in and found items for her family of seven,î according to Erika.
Throughout the day parent volunteers of Crocker Farm PGO along with members of the Amherst Lions worked in shifts to provide assistance to visitors. The winter share hours even extended past school hours, volunteers were at the school from 6:00-8:00 p.m. for those that could not drop by during the day.
The remaining coats and items at the end of the night will then be given to the Amherst Survival Center, which will be able to reach more of those in need. As Erika Zekos said, ìWe know that there is a need out there, so we just remain hopeful.î The collaboration between all of these organizations proves to be a community effort at its best.