A tale of generosity in two states

I write to readers about a story of sympathy, generosity and big hearts: Dave and Christine MacMillan, past residents of the town of North East, departed New York four years ago bound for a new home and life in Florida.

As many of you know, Dave was the founder and former leader of the Sunday in the Country (SITC) Food Drive. He led that initiative for more than 26 years. Through SITC, Dave, his hard-working volunteers and our generous community provided hundreds of families with thousands of wholesome Thanksgiving and Christmas meals  for more than a quarter of a century. The goodwill spread beyond Millerton to adjacent communities throughout the Tri-state region, as needed.

When moving to the South, Dave and Chris turned over the operation of the food drive to Bill and Colleen Anstett.

Dave called me in late July to say he would be in the area in a few weeks and had an interesting tale to tell. His story was as follows:

Dave and Chris would stop by a local restaurant/bar a couple of times a week to enjoy the cuisine, have a drink and engage in friendly banter with each other and those at the restaurant. One day, the regular patrons and four alternating bartenders created a ruse to deceive the MacMillans.

A bartender appreciation fund was set up to accept donations to award good service at the establishment. This was done after those at the restaurant heard Dave describe the food drive and his devotion to the cause over the years, and the good will created by the North East community to support the food drive.

After a time, the fund at the restaurant reached its goal of $1,500. A check was drafted and then sat waiting for the MacMillans’ next visit. When they arrived, the staff handed over the funds to Dave and Chris endorsed to the SITC food drive.

Astonishing! Just imagine, the Florida restaurant staff and those who contributed to the fund don’t know anyone in the town of North East or its environs, and yet they opened their hearts and wallets to locals here needing a helping hand.

Floridians, you are the epitome of patriotism and selflessness and are a shining example to all. This old Navy Vietnam vet salutes you.

So, now Dave is in town to deliver the money, sent with all of the southern generosity and charm we northerners always hear about. The much-needed funds will undoubtedly help to lessen the anxiety of many households this upcoming holiday season.

God bless our generous southern neighbors, those hard-working food drive volunteers and the patriotic readers reading this column, and all of their families. Let’s please continue to look out for one another — it’s the right thing to do.

Those who can, please join me in donating any amount to the SITC food drive. You will be rewarded by bringing holiday smiles to many grateful faces — as well as your own.

Donations may be made to Sunday in the Country Food Drive, P.O. Box 789, Millerton, NY 12546, or go to a local donation site. Daisey Hill Farm on is one drop off site, located at 438 Indian Lake Road, Millerton.

‘Til next time, enjoy the rest of your summer.


Town of North East resident Larry Conklin is a Vietnam veteran and a member of both the Millerton American Legion Post 178 and the VFW Post 6851 in North Canaan, Conn.

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