Chautauqua Connections Children’s Coalition Heads Up Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

(L to R): Cindy Phillips, vice president for business and finance with Filling the Gap, Inc.; Heather C. Brown, assistant executive director at The Resource Center; and Patrick Smeraldo, independent service coordinator with Chautauqua Connections, Inc., pose with a truck bed full of supplies that were donated to aid schoolchildren affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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The Resource Center

A local coalition that supports children in Chautauqua County has come together to aid schoolchildren affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The Chautauqua Connections Children’s Coalition recently completed a drive to raise money and supplies for a school district in Texas.

“A former student of mine, Rachel Maisto Depietro, is a teacher with the Clear Creek Independent School District in Houston,” said Patrick Smeraldo, a Jamestown School District teacher and an independent service coordinator who coordinates the Connections Children’s Coalition’s activities. The coalition, which is made up of a number of local organizations, focuses on supporting the social, physical, developmental, and behavioral health needs of young children.

“I reached out to Rachel and explained to her about the network I’m involved with and asked if I could do anything to help. She mentioned they were in need of supplies and obviously any money that could be donated.”
Smeraldo asked coalition members to donate, and they responded by contributing supplies worth $1,500, plus $500 in cash.

“These supplies will go directly to Rachel and into the hands of needy pre-school and elementary children and programs,” Smeraldo said.

He thanked those who donated to the relief drive: Dr. Bret Apthorpe, Katie and Nick Bell, Carrie Blitz, Heather C. Brown, James Cama, Natalie and Toby Christensen, Ellen Ditonto, Theresa Fish, Leslie Hallock, Elaine and Wayne Hotelling, Mary Maisto, Judy Metzger, Gail Rensel, Jennifer Schrader, Pam Wilcox, Chautauqua Connections, Inc., and both the staff of Lincoln and Bush elementary schools in Jamestown.

Anyone interested in making a donation to support the Clear Creek Independent School District can learn how to do that by visiting