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Chase benefactors donate $500… and get it one nickel at a time

Dec. 7, 2017

Dennis and Michael wood donate to Chase Elementary SchoolTo many, Dennis and Michael Wood are familiar faces – they are the butchers at the Wurtsboro G Mart. Their job is to feed people. To the staff and students at Emma C. Chase Elementary School, the Woods are angels.

This father and son team recently presented the school with a $500 donation for the school’s Snack Pack Program, which provides food for students in need to take home on weekends.

“I know what it’s like for people,” said Dennis Wood, who sees people in need every day at the market.

What makes this donation even more special, though, is how the Wood family raised the money.

Every Tuesday night, from July 4 through the end of October, Dennis Wood and his son, Michael, drove their pick-up truck throughout the village of Wurtsboro and collected bottles and cans that were put out for recycling. The men would then take what they had collected to a bottle and can redemption center in Middletown to collect the money. It took the two of them about two and a half hours each week to get the job done.

“When people heard about what we were doing, they started calling us to pick up their recycling,
said the senior Wood. “We were able to do this just in the Village of Wurtsboro.”

This isn’t the only donation the family has made to their former school – all three of Dennis Wood’s children are graduates of Chase. Not by a long shot. According to Virginia Gallet, assistant principal at Chase, the Woods are longtime friends of the school.

“The Wood family donates so much to our school,” said Gallet. And that includes Linda Wood, Dennis’s wife and Michael’s mom. “They buy food for us, decorate our front door. We are so grateful for their generosity.”

“I feed the world,” said Wood, who also clips Box Tops for Education and brings them in.

And working in a grocery store, well, the bargains surround him.

“I see something on sale – oranges, fruit – I buy it and bring it in,” he said.

Which is a treat because most of the food in the Snack Pack are non-perishables, such as soups, snacks, fruit cups, cereal, granola bars and the like.

“Even the smallest donation helps,” said social worker Kaitie Rubin, adding that every school in the district has a Snack Pack and would welcome help.

Wood encourages others to think about what they can do to help out.

“We knew there was a Snack Pack Program and that’s about the kids,” said Wood. “We need to nurture them. We are not rich people. We want people to step up and help.”

The Woods plan to resume their recycling program in April, all to benefit their local school.

“The kids in our community will really benefit from this,” said Gallet as she accepted the $500 donation. “Thank you.”