They had angels on their side … us!

By Avraham Kalban

Another story in our ‘Helping Holiday Hands’ series

“It’s very moving to see people open their hearts and give to those who are underserved, especially around the holiday season. I enjoy getting involved in this program because it helps me to keep things in perspective, not to sweat the small stuff and reminds me to be grateful.”
Lisa Zafonte Maffei, Legal Senior Counsel II, Hands Together NY Board Member and DNY Salvation Army Angel Program coordinator 

Plant Accounting gets involved in Hix! Shown (l-r): Janine Hilton Jones, Virginia Castro, Cecilia Bermudez, and Teresa Allocca

From Central to Downstate New York (and with some generous donations from Waltham, too), our employees once again played the part of ‘angels’ for children in need this holiday season.

In DNY Hands Together New York sponsored our participation in the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, for the 11th successful year. This is the program where ‘secret shoppers’ make sure families who couldn’t otherwise afford it have clothes and toys for Santa to give their kids, based on their wish lists.

Our DNY employees partnered with PSEG-LI to shop for 200 families. Our contribution was more than 60 angels, a substantial increase from last year. When a special, last-minute plea came from a family of six in immediate need, we shopped for them too – delivering much-appreciated gifts, gift cards and money.

The mother of the family said, “I thought this was going to be the worst Christmas, it’s turned out to be one of the best.  … Just to see such giving people there are in this world really shows me how truly blessed I am. All of you truly make differences every day in people’s lives.”

And Salvation Army Social Ministries Coordinator Taylor Quaranta wrote to us, saying “Thanks to our partnership with PSEG, National Grid, Hands Together NY and your tireless coordination, we were able to make our dreams of providing a happy Christmas morning to over 700 kids a reality.”

Syracuse held a similar Angel drive … this one to support the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center Holiday Angel Program. Employees in Legal, Regulatory and Claims (and several other groups) sponsored 50 angels, ranging from infants to teenagers, from 11 area families. Gifts ranged from dollhouses, bikes and tablets to basic need family items like pots and pans, toiletries, diapers and cleaning supplies. Most children also received a winter coat and shoes/boots. 

Senior Counsel Kara Krueger coordinated the event for the fourth year, saying, “It makes me so happy to see how people step up around the holidays. Almost everyone on our floor in the Syracuse Office Complex sponsored one child, if not more. It’s just phenomenal to see such overwhelming generosity!”

Shown (l-r) are Plant Accounting’s Bernadette Falsitta, Kathleen Chiasera, Dotti Blue, Virginia Castro and Cindy Jackson


On December 14, employees who donated met the new Salvation Army staff in front of the Christmas tree in the Hicksville cafeteria (shown in photo above) and loaded gifts onto Salvation Army trucks. Gifts came from Hicksville, Melville, Brentwood, Garden City, MetroTech and even Waltham


Syracuse Angels (l-r): Laura Tadevossian, Kellie Smith, Melissa Barnes, a MacMahon/Ryan Center employee and Kara Krueger


Hands Together NY logo
Hands Together NY is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to, and passionate about, raising funds to help those struggling with issues of hunger or homelessness in our local communities. To find out more or join the group, go to or call

516-545-3321. The organization could always use more helping hands!

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