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July 28, 2018

Strategic Serves: The Country Pantry

Strategic interns offer a fresh perspective on our community mission.

Each year, through our network of non-profit partners, we identify a volunteer project for our new hires and interns. The volunteering day is meant to emphasize our core values with new members of the team and to show that we like to roll up our sleeves and do the tough jobs that need to be done to help the community.

In lieu of our regular weekly market update, Strategic Insights, our talented interns teamed up to write about their experience giving back to the community and to give our regular team of writers a much-needed summer break! We are proud to share the unique viewpoints of our interns, Taylor Brown and Patrick Emerson.

Intern Perspective

We interns joined a team of Strategic professionals to volunteer at The Country Pantry located in Clarks Mills. The mission of this pantry is to provide nutritious food to the families in need in Clinton, Clarks Mills and Westmoreland, NY. By partnering with local churches and donations from members of the community, The Country Pantry proudly serves 250 families in need every month. With other services, such as help with insurance, they also provide referrals for SNAP, WIC, HEAP, Catholic Charities and counseling. Organizations like The Country Pantry are pivotal to rebuilding the greater Utica area, and it’s critical that our team contributes to our community’s growth at all levels, not just in personal wealth.


Every day, this dedicated non-profit truly changes lives and creates a positive impact for families in need. The minute we arrived our team went straight to work and spent the morning unloading donated food, sorting it and creating various premade bags of groceries. Once the Pantry opened, we began the distribution process.


Taylor Brown


My name is Taylor and I started my internship with Strategic Financial Services in May of 2018. I am currently a student at Utica College going into my last semester (thankfully), majoring in Business Management with a concentration in Marketing. During our volunteer day, I helped my coworkers and other volunteers unload donated items, sort and make premade bags of food. I then spent the remainder of my time distributing orders to other volunteers in the sorting rooms and ensuring patrons received their groceries. With the help of Strategic team member Holly Cafalone, we also distributed vouchers for gallons of milk and a $10 voucher to the Savicki produce truck parked outside.


Throughout the distribution process, I had the opportunity to get to know the recipients closer and hear their stories. For many people, it is a series of unfortunate events that has led to their lack of nutrition and aid. I saw first-hand how the act of giving can make a huge impact on someone’s life. From time to time, each one of us needs a hand and to be a helping hand, I found to be extraordinarily rewarding and eye-opening. There is so much we, as individuals can contribute to those around us and our volunteer day was a great reminder of that. I think “Strategic Serves” shows the power of simple acts of kindness and this experience has encouraged me to get more involved in the community in my own free time.

Patrick Emerson


My name is Patrick Emerson, I am going into my senior year at Utica College, where I major in Business Economics with a Concentration in Finance. This summer I have been interning as a Research Analyst with the Investment Team at Strategic Financial Services. While volunteering the other day at The Country Pantry I assisted with carrying in new donations, breaking down empty boxes, and filling “KIDSPAKS”. It was nice to be able to get out and assist those in need. The opportunity to participate as a part of the “Strategic Serves” initiative was a great experience.


This volunteer day also gave us the opportunity to interact with the other team members outside the office. We asked Holly Cafalone, a bright and talented new addition to the team at Strategic, to comment on her experience at the Country Pantry. She relayed “I have never volunteered at a Food Pantry before and my experience was very humbling and eye-opening. I was responsible for greeting the clients and providing them coupons for free food in addition to what they are normally used to receiving. Some clients were very overwhelmed with the generosity and some were elated to just receive an extra box of macaroni and cheese. The day offered a humbling perspective. Having just started with Strategic I am grateful that I was able to be a part of this.”

As a company we value and enjoy the process of giving back, rolling up our sleeves and doing our best for the community. Through the comradery of volunteering together, our team has a new sense of purpose and passion to work together and create a stronger business but more importantly a stronger community.

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