ELIZABETHTOWN - A few daily mouse-clicks from caring residents could be the difference in helping one local organization support young families in need.
Adirondack Community Action Programs is encouraging everyone to get online and cast their votes as the organization competes for a $25,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project.
On Oct. 1, ACAP's HUGS project was one of 300 projects competing selected to participate in the Pepsi Refresh Project, which allows the public to vote on which projects they'd like to see funded most.
Only the projects that finish in the top 10 for votes throughout the month are eligible for the $25,000 grant.
"We started out 179th in the ranking for the funds, and now we're 89th." said Marge Garcia, development coordinator at ACAP. "You can tell a lot of people have been voting."
The HUGS project provides infant swaddles for parents of newborns across New York State. The swaddles are specially designed to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which claims the lives of more than 2,000 babies in the United States each year.
ACAP has supported the the project since it was introduced in May as an initiative of the statewide Community Action Angels Network, of which ACAP is a member. In the past several months, more than 200 swaddles have been distributed statewide.
"We thought it would be great to help distribute the swaddles through our agency," said Marge Garcia, development coordinator at ACAP, noting how swaddles have been distributed through ACAP's Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
Garcia heard the Pepsi Refresh Project mentioned on local television and radio stations recently, and applied for the grant.
The $25,000 grant will allow ACAP to contribute between 2,000 and 3,000 swaddles to the HUGS program, which will distribute them to families throughout New York State.
"We will also give out brochures about health and safety for infants that includes SIDS education," Garcia said.
In September, the Pepsi Refresh Project awarded a $250,000 grant to Hannah's Hope Fund, an Upstate New York-based organization raising money to research a cure for giant axonal neuropathy. The fund is named for Hannah Sames of Rexford, N.Y., who was diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder at age 3, and whose mother, Lori, was originally from Plattsburgh.
Other local causes are also participating in the Pepsi Refresh Project this month. The Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties is also seeking a $25,000 grant to purchase shelving and industrial freezers for its food shelf.
"We're not really competing," said Garcia, noting how the organizations are working together to get their causes voted into the top 10. "The more people we get to vote for these projects, the better."
To support ACAP's HUGS program or the other projects seeking funds through Pepsi Refresh, log on to www.refresheverything.com and register. Registrants can cast one vote daily for any cause of their choice until Oct. 31.
The direct link to vote for the HUGS project is www.refresheverything.com/angelshugsproject.
Pictured on the front: Adirondack Community Action Programs has applied for a $25,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project to help distribute specially-designed swaddles to parents of newborns throughout New York State. The swaddles, an example of which is seen here, have been shown to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.