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Stewart’s Holiday Match program gives $122k to local children’s charities

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Stewart’s Holiday Match program has awarded just more than $122,000 to children’s charities throughout Oswego, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Company spokeswoman Maria D’Amelia said the total $1.34 million raised — which was the same as the 2012 program — throughout the 2013 Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season in a 30-county area where Stewart’s Shops are located was impressive since there were six fewer collection days than in 2012.

Grant awards to counties include $5,300 in Oswego, $24,200 in Franklin, $45,460 in Jefferson, $18,450 in Lewis and $28,900 in St. Lawrence. The Double Play Sports Center, Lowville, received a $1,000 grant. Daniel M. Myers, who runs the sports center, said that money will be used to establish an “edible landscape program.”

“We’re planting gardens around our building,” he said. “We want to utilize (crops) for healthy snacks and for pantries around here. We’ll utilize every green space we have at the community center, which is limited.”

About 400 to 500 square feet of space soon will be full of fruit and vegetable plants for the summer harvest.

Meanwhile, the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club received a $2,500 grant, which will support youth programs year-round for its 800 members, Executive Director Thomas P. Luckie Jr. said.

“Any financial support we receive is crucial,” he said. “We’re able to do a lot of things for a lot of kids who otherwise couldn’t afford it.”

The club is open afternoons daily and Saturday nights for children ages 6 to 19.

Since its inception in 1986, the Stewart’s Holiday Match program has allocated $19 million to children’s charities.

Ms. D’Amelia said the program has always benefited children’s charities because they are “at the heart of Stewart’s Shops.”

“We like to focus on organizations that have maximum positive impact,” she said.

While organizations should have received their checks this week, community members soon can check a full list posted on the Stewart’s Shops website, www.stewartsshops.com.

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