KIC concludes card collection
Nancy Cochran, executive director of Keep Islip Clean, looks over a Western Union telegram dated from 1942.

SCN/Finnegan

KIC concludes card collection

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
2/9/2017


ISLIP TOWN—Over the past month, the Keep Islip Clean office on Main Street in Islip has been crowded with brown cardboard boxes in all shapes and sizes, filled to the brim with greeting cards. This surplus is a result of KIC’s month-long twofold campaign of encouraging recycling and also helping to raise some funds for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Nevada.

Earlier this week, Nancy Cochran, executive director of KIC, navigated her way through the weighted containers trying to get to her desk. She explained that the used donated cards for all occasions come to the office from near and far throughout the month of January. The cards are then torn, keeping only the decorative fronts, before being boxed and eventually mailed out. St. Jude’s Ranch uses the cards to create new cards that are eventually sold to help raise money for the facility that cares for abused and at-risk children and their families.

“It’s very time consuming, but also fun,” Cochran said. She noted that the glitter cards that manage to decorate everything and everyone that comes in contact with them are perhaps the most fun. “I sometimes feel like a fairy princess,” she said with a laugh.

KIC manages to collect more than 100,000 cards every year. Each one has to be checked to make sure they are reusable and free of writing. One recent donation came from Rose Passannante of Oakdale. She had cleared out her family collection of cards that included some that were dated from 1942. Passannante said her family loved to send cards to one another. “My mother saved all of them,” she said. “It’s hard to dispose of them, but I can’t keep them all. I’m just so glad these cards are going somewhere they’ll be appreciated. That made it easier for me to give them up.”

Cochran said that in addition to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, some of the cards would go to local children’s programs and family shelters, where they will be used for arts and crafts projects. KIC also partners with the American Legion to send new, unused donated cards to American soldiers serving overseas so they can write to their families. “You can’t step out to the stationary store if you’re in Iraq,” she noted

Islip resident Bob Cummings has been an ardent volunteer on this project. “I don’t know what I’d do without Bob,” said Cochran.

“It’s a good project and it’s helping kids out,” said Cummings. He noted that while sorting through the piles, he also came across donated newsletters from years ago. “We can’t use them,” he added.

Cochran said that old tax bills have also been donated, which is obviously something else that cannot be reused. She held up another impractical but interesting piece of donated nostalgia: a Western Union telegram dated from 1942 announcing a happy birthday greeting from Buffalo.

Over the next few weeks, more volunteers – including the 20 high school KIC Junior Commissioners – will meet to sort through and prepare the boxes for shipping. KIC uses UPS ground to send the cards to Nevada at a cost of around $1,000. Cochran said the expense and all of the hard work is very worthwhile.

“This is creative recycling,” she remarked.

Anyone interested in lending a hand to sort through the donated cards should call the KIC office at 631-224-2627. Volunteers are always welcome.