Bill desRosiers (top, center) of Coterra Energy is flanked by Sabrina Kumar (left) of Fortis Energy and Rebecca Peterson of Folsom Engineering during a previous Toy Drive shopping trip. Cindy Beeman (above, left) of Susquehanna County Interfaith and Bonnie Morris of Coterra coordinate the annual Holiday Toy Drive and shopping trip.
For nearly a decade now, Coterra Energy (formerly Cabot Oil & Gas) has enjoyed the support of numerous industry partners for their annual Holiday Toy Drive drive for Susquehanna County Interfaith. And they are excited to be gathering once again in person for a morning of shopping at Walmart in Wyoming County on Dec. 14. When all is said and done, they hope to be able to provide toys, apparel and other small gifts for as many as 1,200 children in both Susquehanna and Wyoming counties.
Needless to say, participation last year was affected by the pandemic. In fact, Toy Drive supporters were unable to shop, even though many maintained the tradition with cash donations that were used by Interfaith to buy presents. This year, Coterra is hoping to add to its list of project partners. With their help, involvement can be boosted back to pre-pandemic levels and beyond.
Coterra’s external affairs specialist Bonnie Morris collaborates with Susquehanna County Interfaith director Cindy Beeman to compile shopping lists from wish lists submitted by eligible families. As representatives from the participating companies arrive at Walmart, they are given a list and off they go into the store with big smiles on their faces, returning to the registers with carts overflowing like Santa’s sleigh.
Beeman is generally on her own mission, filling last minute requests and looking for simple gifts for the parents like puzzle books, key chains, or an ornament for their tree. The number of people in need has increased dramatically this year, she noted. “There seem to be a lot of people struggling with medical issues, and also many who are now caring for grandchildren or other relatives which adds financial stress to the families.”
Past shopping participants have related that the initiative is much more meaningful to them knowing that what they are purchasing is exactly what a child wants. “We are directly impacting them,” said Rachel Barfosky of Rain For Rent during the 2019 shopping trip. “These are actual families that need help.”
“We’re getting gifts knowing that they are going to someone in particular,” said Mel Morris of Tioga Environmental Consulting. “We like knowing that what we are getting here stays in the community.”
Coterra employees get into the holiday spirit too, loading the gift bags into waiting trucks then taking them back to their headquarters in Dimock, where other employees help to sort, wrap and tag them before they are delivered to Interfaith’s offices in Montrose.
Beeman arranges pick-up times for the parents, who can take the gifts home discreetly and place them under the tree for the children to find on Christmas morning. “Interfaith believes in giving the families that dignity so that they can provide Christmas for their children,” Cindy remarked. “I just spoke to a mom who had been part of our program in the past, and she said that getting the gifts for her children during that rough time in her life made her feel like the whole community was encouraging her to have hope.”
To join in this year’s Holiday Toy Drive, business owners interested in shopping with Coterra can contact Bonnie Morris at Coterra at 570-278-3518 or Bonnie.Morris@cabotog.com. Donations can be dropped off in person at Coterra Energy, 8207 State Route 29, Montrose, PA or deposited securely online by selecting Holiday Helpers from the drop-down menu at www.community-foundation.org.