After Hurricane Sandy, Janet Jacobsen headed over to Fellowship Hall, a senior housing complex on Babbit Road, and started cooking.
"We took all the food that was going to go bad and cooked for everyone," said the Bedford Hills Neighborhood Association president.
Attending to the seniors living in their hamlet was just one of the initiatives the BHNA pledged to accomplish in 2012—and through their Sweets for Seniors event, ongoing work in conjunction with the town's parks and recreation department on a database of the hamlet's seniors, and informal checking in during major storms and emergencies, they've achieved that goal.
In the past seven years, BHNA has grown into a vibrant resource in Bedford Hills and the whole town, say the organization's officers, Janet Jacobsen, Lisbeth "Boo" Fumagalli and Whitney Serrell Barbera.
"I think what we've done is create great community events—like our pool party, cocktail party, road race and tree lighting—that are now traditions in town," said Barbera, who has served as the group's secretary for the past several years and is stepping down from that position at the end of the year.
"We are now a recognized information source on relevant issues," said Fumagalli. The group maintains a membership list of over 300 residents and asks for $5 in dues per year. The association also created a welcome letter for new residents including helpful resources about the town.
Barbera said though she has loved serving on the board and will continue to oversee the group's annual tree lighting ceremony, it was time for her to step down. "I think it’s time for someone to bring new ideas to the board," she said.
Jacobsen, who plans to run for BHNA president again in January, said the most touching event for her this year was the Sweets for Seniors event, where they hand-delivered home-baked goods to elderly residents. "People were really in tears. It was a great way to reach a community we don’t get through school or Facebook."
Jacobsen said the group is always looking for ways to support the community. This year, in addition to allocating funds from the proceeds of the Run for the Hills race to a student participating on cross country or track, BHNA will earmark monies for the Bedford Hills swim team from the proceeds of their pool party.
(Disclosure: They learned about the team from Bedford Hills resident Léna Roy, from her Patch blog.)
Now they have their sights set on their third annual holiday tree lighting ceremony, to be held this Saturday at 5 p.m. in Depot Plaza.
The group selected William Heidepriem, Bedford's superintendent of parks and recreation, to light the lights this year, because of "all he's done for the town."
"We chose Bill because he’s a resident, but also because he's a fine example of someone who gives so much to his town," said Fumagalli. "It's all in the background and he doesn't get enough credit."
Refreshments include candy canes donated by Pawfection, and cookies and hot chocolate provided by MeMe's Treats. Charles George, a local electrician, will help get the lights working, and students from in addition to members of the Bedford Community Theatre, will lead a traditional sing-a-long.
For more information on the tree lighting, click here.
For more information about BHNA, click here.
BHESsingingand BCT singign