‘Just doing what we should do’

Local store collects for three charities this month

BRATTLEBORO — Tropical Storm Irene strengthened Mike Chudzik's resolve this year.

Chudzik, owner of the Wireless Zone franchise branch on Putney Road, has hosted a fund drive for three local charities for the past three Decembers.

It's about three charities, two weeks, with one goal of raising funds and provisions, he said.

Chudzik is helping to raise food, donations, and provisions for Project Feed the Thousands, the Marine Corps League's Toys for Kids, and the Windham County Humane Society. The event launched on Dec. 2 and ends Dec. 16.

“It's pretty simple,” he said. “Just doing what we should do.”

Delivering water and food to relief workers and meeting people whose homes had washed away in towns like Wilmington and Townshend after Irene's devastating floods motivated Chudzik to push harder during this year's “3, 2, 1” charity event.

By supporting these three organizations, said Chudzik, we can target three important local populations: hungry people, kids, and animals.

“I don't have kids, I have dogs,” Chudzik said.

The donations stay in Vermont, he added.

Everyone who brings a donation to Wireless Zone before Dec. 16 automatically receives a $20 store gift card. Chudzik will also enter donors' names into a raffle for a free iPhone.

Chudzik said he can't place a dollar amount on the food and pet-care products people have delivered to the store.

Wireless Zone has handed out almost $1,000 in gift cards, he said.

Visiting the food pantries in Wilmington and Townshend after Irene motivated him this year, said Chudzik. He said he helped deliver 80 cases of water to first responders right after the storm, Chudzik said.

He also ran promotions in his store and worked with other businesses on Putney Road. Together, the stores raised $600,000 and filled four truckloads of food.

“These people [charities] do so much with so little,” he said. “They need all the help they can get.”

But the need continues year-round, he said.

The Marine Corps League have over 500 kids on their toy list this year, said Chudzik.

According to Chudzik, Toys for Kids mimics the Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots gift drive, but all toys donated in Vermont go to Vermont children.

3, 2, 1 charity event also received a donation from the Wireless Zone Foundation for Giving.

Ian Kelly and Tim Johnson, the morning team on WTSA 96.7 FM, will announce the iPhone raffle winner on the air on Dec. 16.

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