DANSVILLE — The NYS Festival of Balloons donated $13,000 to 21 local non-profit organizations this year.
On Nov. 19, in time for the Thanksgiving cheer, the committee met at the Dansville Public Library to pass out the donations. The non-profit organizations were made up of Rinker’s Readers, Dansville Public Library, Dansville ArtWorks, Theresa House, Vincent House, Chances and Changes, Dansville Food Pantry, Stony Brook Pediatrics, Samaritans Funds, Dansville Mustang Football, Dansville High Soccer, Noyes Health, E.A.R.S. Lifeline, Santa Hat Society, Dansville Fire Department, Dansville American Legion, Suzanne’s Comfort Care Home, Catholic Charities of Livingston County, Dansville Senior Award and more.
Dorothy Hotchkiss, NYS Festival of Balloons president, said that this is the reward of all the hard work done at the festival in the summer.
“Tonight we are marking one of the things we enjoy the most about festival. We are able to give back to the community. That is one of our goals, and one of the ways we mark the success of the festival,” she said. “For 38 years the Dansville Festival of Balloons has provided a family-friendly event. It is unique to this area, because of the history of the natural air flow in the valley. This is a natural place for gliders and hot air balloons.”
Hotchkiss offers up some history of how it all got started.
“Hot air ballooning originated with the Allen Family that resided in Dansville. They actually had a launch at the end of what is now Ossian Street in the month of August,” she said. “It is kind of like the festival of balloons is following in the same tradition. The festival committee and organizers are 100 percent volunteer. We work with the community members and organizations every year. There is always room for more volunteers.”
Hotchkiss said we had about 23,000 people come to the festival this year, and there were some from as far as California. This festival is deemed a NYS festival every single year, and is recognized by the state and local officials.
Since 2001 the NYS Festival of Balloons has raised over $200,000 to be donated back to the community.
The non-profit organizations all agreed that they rely heavily on volunteers and the generous donations like this to keep going.
Dansville Food Pantry helps feed 60 families this Thanksgiving, and they plan on helping for Christmas as well. Dansville Public Library will continue in their literacy program to have kindergartners read 1,000 books. Samaritan Funds helps with drug and alcohol addiction recovery.
Noyes Health is always in need of donations for the cancer center and other projects. Dansville Soccer Team and Mustang Football will use it to help students with equipment. E.A.R.S. Lifeline helps 649 elderly in the area.
Theresa House is honoring their 25th year of Hospice care. Vincent House needs the help for keeping the home going for the terminally ill. Suzanne’s Comfort Care Home of Perry was inspired by Vincent House, and is the first of its kind in Wyoming County.
Santa Hat Society is helping 39 families have a Christmas this year. Dansville ArtWorks continues to need support in growing the arts in the area. American Legion uses the funds to help with Project Christmas. Catholic Charities helps homeless, poor, and the vulnerable get a roof over their head.
Dansville Fire Department is always in need of support for everything they do. Stony Brook Pediatrics helps low income families have food and medical care for the children. Chances and Changes helps domestic violence victims get back on their feet. Rinker’s Readers helps low income families have books for their children.
All of these organizations mentioned could use more volunteers if anyone is interested you can reach out.