Wednesday, December 18, 2013

CHOW gets donations, a visit from Santa

December 15, 2013

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) On Sunday, Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse held a day with Santa, asking for donations for those in need.

Children gave Santa a few items from their Christmas lists, and families dropped off donations for CHOW.

Organizers said they expected around 200 people to come out for the event. They asked community members to drop off non-perishable food items for others who need them.

CHOW organizers said it's especially heartwarming to see children donate to others.

"There's so many young people that are in need, so it's a really nice process," said CHOW Director Michael Leahey. "Young people come in and they have a great time."

Last year, CHOW received nearly 1,000 lbs. of food.

By Megan Carpenter

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A big present for CHOW

Endicott, NY- Shoppers walking into the Weis in West Corners may have wondered about what appeared to be a giant present in the middle of the store.

With the help of its shoppers Weis made a large donation to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse.

That present was full of food donations that were loaded into the CHOW truck Friday morning.

Along with the food Weis also made a corporate donation of $15,000.

These donations are coming during an especially difficult year for CHOW.

"Seventy percent of the students that go to Binghamton High School are on free or reduced lunch programs when those students don't have the schools to depend on what ends up happening is they go to pantries," said Joe Sellepack of CHOW.

Sellepack went on to say that longer break is what puts the extra strain on CHOW to keep food pantries stocked and this donation from Weis will go a long way.

By Sam Gaddes

Matthews Subaru to host kid and pet photos with Santa to benefit CHOW

December 9, 2013
CHOW, the Community Hunger Outreach Program of the Broome County Council of Churches, is in desperate need of food donations this holiday season.

According to a news release:

The public is encouraged to bring non-perishable food items or a cash donation for CHOW to Matthews Subaru at 3013 Old Vestal Road in Vestal (Behind Lowe’s) through January 2nd.

As part of Subaru’s national “Share the Love” initiative, Subaru will donate $250 from the sale of any new Subaru  vehicle to CHOW or the buyer’s choice of 5 other national charities through January 2nd.

To enhance the food drive, Matthews will be hosting “Kid and Pet Photos with Santa” on Thursday December 12th from 6pm to 8pm with free human and dog cookies, candy, balloons and beverages. Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras and nonperishable food items for CHOW.

“This is an especially demanding time for meeting the needs of hungry people in Broome County and this event is a wonderful opportunity for people to share their resources to make things a little easier for folks facing food insecurity,” noted Rev. Dr. Joseph Sellepack, executive director of the Council.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Life Lived: Vestal resident was active in Council of Churches, local choirs

When somebody like Ray Hull leaves the earth, holes suddenly appear.

“Ray was a very important person around here,” said the Rev. Dr. Joseph Sellepack, executive director of the Broome County Council of Churches. “He served on the budget and finance committee until he died.”

Ray had also served as treasurer of the board for years and, using his engineering background, as liaison between the building crew and the board of directors for the new Council building on the South Side of Binghamton.

“Whenever I had a building question, I called Ray,” Sellepack said.

Sellepack hadn’t been aware Ray had died on Oct. 15 at age 74 until he got what sounded like a routine phone call.

“We got a call from a lawyer who said we were named in the estate,” Sellepack said. “I asked if Ray was updating his will or something, and the lawyer said, ‘No, he died.’”

Those three words flabbergasted Sellepack, who’d often pick up the phone to find Ray on the other end, just calling to see how life was going.

Friends and family flocked to Ray’s memorial service on Nov. 30.

Man with the answers

Ray was the go-to guy at Longford Lake, too, while it was planning for its new sewer system, said Bob Alspaugh, who lived near Ray’s cottage there, in Brackney, Pa..

“If Ray wasn’t around for some reason, everybody got all excited because nobody else knew anything,” he said. At one early meeting, Ray hauled in three boxes of documents, containing blueprints for the lake’s dam, a map of the lake, and other papers that predated Ray’s time owning property there. “He became the informal historian.”

Hudda Aswad, of Binghamton, knew that Ray and his late and much-beloved wife Sharon, who died in 2009, had been particularly close.

They never had children but devoted time to various community causes, such as the Phelps Mansion Museum.

They enjoyed their home in Vestal and their place at the lake — and they loved cats.

“After Sharon died, the last cat died, and he never got another one,” Aswad said.

Ray was a sensitive man shaken to his roots when Sharon died unexpectedly during surgery, leaving him painfully alone. His three siblings live in Maryland, California and Tennessee.

Mr. Perfection

Indeed, Ray was no ordinary guy, said longtime friend Lou Perman, of Binghamton.

“He was a very intense person,” Perman said. “He would have everything all thought out before he started anything — a typical engineer. There’s always a better way of doing things. And I never knew him with his hair messed up, never saw him needing a haircut.”

Ray had retired after a long career with NYSEG. 

Perman worked side-by-side with Ray at Tuesday night work meetings at Tabernacle United Methodist Church, where administrative assistant Mal Cohen remembers him and his wife singing in the choir, then under the direction of locally renowned music man Alan Crabb.

He sang baritone to Sharon’s alto, and they reveled in the fellowship.

“He’d have choir parties in his house,” Cohen said.

Ray wasn’t only in the choir, but generally assisted with the hiring of the organist and choir director whenever an opening arose, explained longtime friend and fellow Tabernacle member David Gouldin.

“Ray was very bright, well-organized and a very solid financial thinker,” said attorney Gouldin, a partner with Levene Gouldin and Thompson LLP in Vestal. “He did a great deal to carry our church on his shoulders during his years of leadership here.”

The addition of contemporary songs at Tabernacle did not meet with Ray’s approval, and the Hulls began singing in the choir at United Presbyterian Church in Binghamton.

Music is the context in which Barbara Hickling, of Endwell, will best remember him.

“If there was a music event going on in this valley, he would be likely to turn up to sing,” she said.

When he made his annual pilgrimage to the Bach Festival in Bethlehem, Pa., he made his reservation for the next year.

That festival will now be missing one of its most enthusiastic supporters.

Written by
Valerie Zehl

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Choruses unite to help CHOW

The 10th Annual Choruses for CHOW Benefit Concert will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Sarah Jane Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church, 380 Main St., Johnson City.

The concert, which raises money for the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) of the Broome County Council of Churches, will feature the Binghamton Downtown Singers, the Montrose Christmas Chorale, the Bronzissimo! Bell Choir, the Carousel Harmony Chorus, the Endwell Community Chorus and the Southerntiersmen Barbershop Chorus.

The individual groups will perform a range of musical styles and combine for a grand finale.

The timing of the event is especially important, as the need for food spikes at this time of year, because Broome County students who participate in food nutrition programs in their schools will be on extended breaks during December.

Tickets in advance are $8 and can be purchased by calling the Broome County Council of Churches at 724-9130.

Tickets also will be sold at the door for $10.