County employees show holiday spirit with benefit drive for agency

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Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and hundreds of county employees had a benefit drive the week of Dec. 12 to assist the Thea Bowman House which serves more than 300 low-income, at-risk children, ages 18 months through 18 years, and their families in and around the city of Utica.

Over 500 employees donated baby supplies, school supplies and personal items to the drive. Every employee who donated participated in a dress down day on Dec. 15.

Picente said of the drive “we had a great turnout for the drive and our employees once again showed the spirt of the holiday season and the community spirit they have all year long.”

Supplies that were donated included, school supplies such as book-bags, glue sticks and wooden puzzles. Baby supplies included, bibs, diapers and wipes together with personal items like hats and mittens, soap/shampoo and kids toothbrushes.

Picente went on to say “these are items the Thea Bowman House has identified as a need and we are grateful to have been able to help. I can’t thank all our employees enough for participating and giving the gift of knowledge and comfort to those in need this holiday season.”

All items will improve the well-being and learning environment of the Thea Bowman kids.

The Thea Bowman provides “quality care to some of our
community’s most vulnerable children and youth in the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty through a structured program of educational and social enrichment,” according to its website.

The Bowman house began in 1986 as Agape House, an after school program for latch key children in the west Utica area, and expanded its programs, becoming Thea Bowman House in 1996.

It now operates out of two sites in Utica — 731 Lafayette St. and the other at the former St. Francis de Sales School at 309 Genesee St.

The mission of the Thea Bowman House “is to provide a safe, nurturing environment to enable culturally diverse children and families achieve their full
potential.”

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