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INTERVIEW: Business Revitalization Committee Member Shannon Willey On The Southampton Village Holiday Gift Drive

T.J. Clemente

Southampton Village Business Revitalization Committee is spearheading the Holiday Gift Drive. (Courtesy Photo)

Southampton Village shines bright every holiday season - and 2020 will be no different. The Southampton Village Business Revitalization Committee has once again committed to lead by example in showing that this season is truly about giving. In a talk with Shannon Willey, owner of Seagreen Designs (68 Jobs Lane), she explained that there are 85 families in the Southampton School District who have been struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. Willey said, "We businesses are looking to provide those in need through our Holiday Gift Drive."

She relayed, "The Southampton Village Business Revitalization Committee members that were instrumental in putting this together are Sharon Kerr, Elyn Kronemeyer, and Doug McGuire. Rosanne Gentile from the Southampton UFSD was our contact and is working to help identify the growing number of families in the district in need. We would not have been able to put this together without the support and approval of the Village Board of Trustees."

Willey went on to explain the genesis of this program. "We [Southampton Village Revitalization Committee] were speaking about what we could do to promote business during the holidays and then we started to talk about what we could do to give back to the community. We started reaching out to different organizations and one of our committee members, Sharon Kerr, reached out directly to Southampton's schools and learned that the school district has over 85 families who are in need at the moment. We decided to focus our efforts on getting donations specifically for the families within the Southampton School District."

She continued, "What we have been doing as a committee is going to all of our Village businesses. We have been to over 75 businesses and are thrilled that we have that many businesses open in Southampton Village this time of year. Most of the businesses have decided to participate, which is now officially over 40 and that number is growing. In fact, some of the businesses are actually offering incentives to people doing business with them, whether it be making a donation of $10 and receiving a 10 percent discount, some companies are matching donations, some companies are just giving gift certificates of their own. We are all decorating our windows for the holidays, and even though we can't do our typical Parade of Lights and Tree Lighting Ceremony because of COVID-19, we are all banding together as a business community to support those in need."

All are welcome to participate in the Southampton Village Holiday Gift Drive. Willey relayed, "For those interested in participating, uniform gift boxes will be provided to collect cash, checks or gift cards to be used to support those most in need in our local community this season. A list of families will be provided if a business or customer would like to adopt a family."

Willey added, "Each participating business is free to decide how they wish to inform and possibly incentive their clients and customers about this initiative and all those who choose to participate will be recognized through a variety of media as supporters of the Southampton Village Holiday Gift Drive."

If you are interested in participating, please contact Sharon Kerr at shxanadu@aim.com or 516-652-4758, or Elyn Kronemeyer at elynkrone@yahoo.com or 516-429-5478. For more information, visit visitsouthamptonvillage.org.

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