by Bob Barbu

Again, I am asking for your help in filling the bucket. If you come to Tops market Friday after 4 p.m. or Saturday before 6 p.m., there will be a tractor with a front end loader bucket that the ski patrollers want to fill.

“With what?” Well, I am glad you asked.

The Ski Patrol is again collecting non-perishables food items such as canned food products, pastas, bottled drinks and food products in sealed bags (not frozen). We also need paper products, toilet paper, paper towels, Kleenex, napkins and cleaning supplies — and finally, toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, hand and face soap. As you can see, that with your help, we can fill the bucket so that the Ellicottville Food Bank can provide services to many needy individuals.

We also want to remind you that we are giving out Mardi Gras beads for your donations. And we all know that coming to a Mardi Gras weekend without beads — well, it just should not happen. Yes, we will also accept cash donations, as those in need often need assistance with heating bills and other services that require payment when received.

So please, your help is needed, “dig a little deeper” so that your gift will help those in need. If you are unable to visit us at Tops or bring your items to the parade, then you can take your donations to our partner, the Red Door Ski Shop here in town any time, and their wonderful staff will see that it reaches the food bank.

Finally, there is the Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday just after 6 p.m. in downtown Ellicottville. The ski patrollers in their red jackets with white crosses will be on both sides of the parade route asking for any final donations and, yes, you will receive a string of beads for your donation.

As ski patrollers, we have a saying that is “a passion for skiing and compassion for people.” Please show your compassion and give the ski patroller a donation as they walk each side of the parade route.

For further information, you can contact Bob Barbu at (716) 440-668-3773 or email