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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    'Tis the season to be jolly, but 'tis the season for giving, too. East Fishkill agent Suzanne DeCosta epitomizes the spirit of giving with an annual office tradition that shows kindness to others is still alive and well within the holiday season.

    Three years ago Suzanne approached administrators at Van Wyck Junior High School in hopes of creating a food drive directly connecting her and fellow agents to families in need. "What began with the intention of providing a food basket for one or two local families quickly expanded into our office generously providing a full day of food for 14 to 15 families at Van Wyck Junior High."

    Each year, Suzanne sends out a list of suggested items--items that she as a mom and homemaker knows will ease the burden of holiday cooking for disadvantaged families. Agents bring their donations to the office and Suzanne does a final shop to make her list complete. They then load the items into bags and baskets and deliver them to Van Wyck just before Winter Break.

    Every package includes breakfast items like eggs and bacon, dinner foods like ham, pasta and potatoes  and desserts like pumpkin pies and candy canes.

    "Real estate agents are an integral part of building a community and often times the first person someone meets as they move to the area is a realtor," Suzanne says. "We work and live in this community and it creates a type of ownership in making it a good place."