By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — The Boys & Girls Club of Sidney received a comfy contribution last Tuesday in the form of four couches, four tables and six chairs.
The furniture, worth approximately $1,300, was donated from Save More Furniture Store in Owego by owner Leonard Hilldale. BGCS executive director Patricia Tyrell said Sidney economic developer John Redente contacted Hilldale about a possible donation, and Hilldale was more than supportive.
Tyrell said she was allowed to pick out any items of which she felt the BGCS could make good use from a section of the furniture store featuring “red dot sale” items and dorm furniture. According to Tyrell, the club was looking to replace some of the worn, graffiti-marred furniture to keep the space clean, safe, and appropriate. With an average daily attendance of 55 youths and an overall membership of 250 at the club, Tyrell said the furniture tends to get a lot of wear and tear.
Hilldale said his desire to donate to the club stems from knowing firsthand what an asset it is to the community. He said he spent a great deal of time during his childhood at a similar club.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t have a great home life,” Hilldale recalled. “It was a refuge to me and always a safe place for me to go.”
According to Tyrell, the furniture will get a huge amount of use. With a membership charge of only $10 a year, she said the club is a popular place for children and teens to go. It is open Monday to Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. as a “drop-in center,” Tyrell said. This means kids and teens can come and go as they please, as long as they sign in and out with their membership card.
Tyrell said the new furniture will have many different uses because of the variety of activities that go on, like arts and crafts, a book club and homework assistance. The couches will also be used in conjunction with the existing pool table, air-hockey table and video games.
“The kids are loving it,” Tyrell said of the furniture. “They say it’s really comfortable.”
One of the newest activities that the furniture will be used for is a mentoring service between BGCS youth and community senor citizens called It Takes A Village. According to Tyrell, this program will allow youths and seniors to connect in a positive way and learn from each other by spending time together. She said she hopes to secure a specific room for the program where some of the newly donated furniture, particularly a nice leather loveseat, can be used.
No matter what room the furniture ends up in, it will be appreciated, said Tyrell. She said she was especially appreciative of Hilldale’s desire to donate despite the distance between his store and Sidney. According to her, the club depends on this kind of kindness.
Tyrell said Hilldale’s kindness is also visible in the other charitable programs he’s involved with, like Coats N Clothes 4 Kids. This program, supported by local donations, provides free clothing for children. The clothes are on display and available for public perusal in Hilldale’s store. Hilldale’s own Beds 4 Kids program gives gently used mattresses to children and families in need.
“We are so grateful and honored to be benefactors of his generosity,” Tyrell said of Hilldale. “We are hugely thankful.”