United Way volunteers distribute safety tips

Julie Lewis | The Daily Star 

Amy Morgan, who works for the personal banking department at Key Bank in Oneonta, hangs a packet of safety information on a door handle at a home on Walnut Street in Oneonta on Wednesday. Employees from the branch volunteered to distribute the packets in the Center City neighborhood as part of the United Way’s Sept. 11 National Day of Service.

Volunteers set out to distribute 500 bags containing informational brochures to Oneonta neighborhoods as part of the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties’ September 11th National Day of Service.

Each bag had information about such topics as fire safety, how to be a good neighbor, holiday safety, cooking safety, smoke detectors and safety checklists for apartments.

Volunteers from Arc Otsego’s day services assembled the bags, said Valerie Adams, volunteer coordinator for the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties. The Oneonta Fire Department, Oneonta Police Department and state troopers provided the materials, she said.

This is the first year of this event, which Adams said was called Join Us in Getting the Word Out.

Adams said the idea of the event was to help local first responders keep people safe and the idea has been in the works for a month. She said she was surprised by the energy of all the volunteers, and that getting 500 bags out in six hours was phenomenal.

“It’s just a way of just getting the word out to people and sort of getting people involved with being community minded,” she said. “Helping out our first responders and also providing really valuable safety information to the community.”

Eighty-five people including volunteers from the Arc Otsego’s East End Men’s Group, Greater Plains Elementary School and KeyBank on Main Street set out to tackle different neighborhoods.

Three volunteers from East End Men’s Group distributed around 446 Main St. and more than 40 Greater Plains Elementary School students covered the school’s nearby streets. Though most people weren’t home when the volunteers stuck the bags on their doors, those who were around seemed pleasantly surprised to get them.

Anna Hillis, Key Bank’s Oneonta branch manager, said the branch got involved in the distribution event because it worked with Adams for a back-to-school donation event.

Herself, Dee Brandenburg, Sarah Sprague and Amy Morgan had fifty bags to distribute to the neighborhoods surrounding their workplace.

“Even though we are a big corporate bank, we’re still their local bank, and we do care about the communities that we’re in,” she said. “This is a day that changed a lot of people’s lives.”

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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