An agency all about caring

The Croton Caring Committee has served individuals and families for a long time—almost 40 years.

It didn’t take long at all for Alana Jessie to decide she wanted to be involved.

Alana Jessie and Executive Director Carrie Sena during out January 2020 Holiday Celebration.

“A family friend invited me to attend this free monthly luncheon for seniors,” said Jessie, vice president of Donn Gerelli Associates Insurance Agency (DGA) in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. “I was immediately drawn to the direct impact that the Croton Caring Committee had on those in need in our community, so I began volunteering every month.”

The senior event only scratches the surface of what the organization does, however.

 

Wide-ranging support

The Croton Caring Committee regularly reaches more than 350 residents through services available to anyone. The Medical Transportation Program provides free rides to and from appointments. Neighbors in need are supported through food assistance, distribution of backpacks and school supplies, and holiday adopt-a-family programs. There is even an annual senior “prom,” according to Dan Boglioli, the organization’s treasurer.

Last year, he said, all programs saw record levels of participation—and in 2020, thanks to new initiatives to support the community during the COVID-19 crisis, those numbers will continue to rise.

“The breadth of the Croton Caring Committee’s reach, and the dedication of everyone involved, has truly inspired us,” Jessie said. “It’s amazing how one organization can touch so may diverse segments of our community, from senior citizens to families and children who need support. We can think of no nobler mission, which is why we have thrown the full support of our business behind them.”

This is group of volunteers packed Christmas and Hanukkah food baskets for 46 Croton residents (including more than 80 children) and also sorted, labeled and organized gifts for the Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Program.

 

Individual and company commitment

Today, she serves on the board and participates in all programs and services, while DGA is the nonprofit’s largest corporate donor. And the commitment of Jessie and Donn Gerelli (her husband and DGA owner) has inspired agency employees as well.

“They have spontaneously adopted the Croton Caring Committee as a way to participate in doing good,” Jessie said. “They distribute food, visit the homebound, drive patients to appointments, and more. And our IT analyst Mario Roberto, a native Spanish speaker, recently provided translation services—which means even more people can be served.”

“When Alana joined the board, she really hit the ground running,” Boglioli said. “But even before that, Alana and DGA were some of our most active supporters. They contribute to the success of all of our programs.”

Jessie served up cupcakes for the seniors at the nonprofits January 2020 luncheon.

 

A financial boost at just the right time

A 2020 Make More Happen Award will add to that contribution. The award typically includes an initial donation of $5,000 and the opportunity to win another $5,000, but given the current crisis and increased need, Liberty Mutual and Safeco are immediately sending the full $10,000 to the Croton Caring Committee on behalf of Donn Gerelli Associates Insurance Agency.

 

‘It’s amazing how one organization can touch so may diverse segments of our community, from senior citizens to families and children who need support.’

—Alana Jessie, Donn Gerelli Associates Insurance Agency vice president

 

Those funds will enable the organization to expand existing programs when people need it most, Jessie said.

“It is so easy to get lost in our daily lives, but delivering a backpack to a child, or a food basket that provides a Thanksgiving meal for a family who would otherwise go without, really doesn’t take that much time,” she said. “And it’s beyond rewarding.”

Making an early morning delivery, Jessie unloads turkeys donated by local residents.

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