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Mary at the Library

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October 25, 2020 | By Donora Public Library Association

Donora Library
Medium Charity Of Excellence Seal Png

We have a number of volunteers who perform daily tasks such as shelving, assisting with various programs and other routine services. However, our volunteer board members often go unrecognized. In particular, board member Mary Gene Delsandro, who heads up our largest fundraising effort and who brings her dedication and professionalism to her leadership role. She often speaks about the people who she contacts every fall to take orders for our annual fundraiser: selling jars of Koeze brand cashews.

Mary Gene took over the holiday sales after a former board chairman and long time mayor of Donora retired. She was not only able to maintain his list of personal friends, business associates, and family members, but she has brought in a number of new businesses who now support the library, which touches the lives of all our patrons.

"As a former educator, I knew very little about selling cashews, especially to people and businesses I did not know. At first I thought I was 'nutty' to take on this responsibility. But this is important work, raising funds needed to assist in our library's operations. I like walking into new businesses and telling them about our library, even when I mistakenly walk into a secure clean-room where other food products are being made. Oops. After taking the orders and hand delivering every case and jar to our customers this past year, I received a call from one of our cashew customers that they needed two more cases. I scrambled to accommodate this company as they needed the product for holiday gifts. I made extra calls to the vendor, arranged for FedEx shipping and was able to fulfill the order in time. Some people really thought I was nutty to go through this extra effort for a few hundred dollars in sales. But it was worth it. I don't mind going out of my way and using my personal resources to have a successful sale."

Mary Gene Delsandro goes out of her way regularly to provide fresh baked goods for our various public events and receptions. She also is now helping head up the library's new strategic planning effort and has brought great ideas to the table. Her work in no way overshadows the volunteerism displayed by all nine of the library board members.

"From personally purchasing new furnishings, to researching and authoring another book about Donora's history, which will raise additional new funding, and bringing other collaborative ventures to the library, I am blessed to work with a board that is beyond dedicated."