A Time to Remember Others

A Time to Remember Others

A look at how members of the Boston College community are reaching out to others during the holiday season:

People of all ages enjoyed last Friday's campus tree-lighting ceremony at O'Neill Plaza. Donations of toys and other gifts were accepted at the event, one of a number of holiday outreach efforts taking place at BC. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
The price of admission to the Graduate Nursing Association's holiday luncheon last Tuesday was a pair of mittens or a toothbrush and paste.

More than 70 members of the Connell School of Nursing community joined GNA members at the group's annual December pizza repast to collect winter necessities for homeless and needy families in the greater Boston area.

CSON graduate student Joyce David, one of the event's organizers, said the drive produced mittens, gloves, scarves, winter coats, sweaters, underwear, socks, soap and personal hygiene supplies for clients of the Sidney Borum Community Health Center in Boston and the "Youth of Fire" program for homeless children in Cambridge.

David said that a drop off box would be available until next Friday in Cushing 211 for other members of the University community who would like to donate similar items.

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The Boston College Police Department is sponsoring a toy collection drive to benefit youngsters served by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Members of the University community may stop by department headquarters in the Lower Campus Administration Building to choose a requested gift from a "Giving Tree" in the lobby.

The gifts should then be returned to the BCPD office. Patrolman John Ellis is in charge of the department's annual holiday gift drive.

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For scores of Boston children this year, Santa's Sleigh will take the shape of a maroon Boston College van.

That's because Connell School of Nursing Administrative Staff Assistant Maureen Eldredge will be behind the wheel of a vehicle loaned by the University's Facilities Management department to take holiday gifts to needy children at Boston's Nazareth House, Franciscan Children's Hospital and other social service agencies.

On Dec. 20, Eldredge will be delivering some 900 gifts donated by parishioners of St. Ignatius Church to youngsters who otherwise might not receive holiday presents.

"It's so nice to be able to do it," said Eldredge. "I want to give credit to Tom Devine, Roger Goode and everybody on the Facilities Management staff who makes it possible for us to get the van each year. It's a wonderful thing for the children."

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The Student Alumni Council has collected toys and children's book for distribution to needy youngsters who live in public housing facilities in Brighton.

The council, a group of students who participate in community service activities sponsored by the Boston College Alumni Association, collected the items and cash donations from Dec. 2-6 at a booth in Walsh Hall dormitory. This is the organization's first Holiday Toy Drive.

Yesterday, council president Janessa Buttaro '03, Alumni Association Executive Director Grace Cotter Regan and Associate Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs Thomas Keady presented the holiday gifts for the children to officials of the Commonwealth Tenants Association at the CTA offices on Fidelis Way in Brighton.

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Facilities Services Assistant Director Paula Forget is again collecting clothing and toys for children who are in the care of the Department of Social Services and the Italian Home, a residential care center in Jamaica Plain for children who have suffered emotional and physical abuse. All items should be donated by Dec. 19. Forget can be contacted at ext.2-8875 or at forget@bc.edu.

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Faculty, staff and students interested in honing their gift-wrapping skills for a good cause should look no further than the Boston College Bookstore. For every hour each volunteer works wrapping presents, the store will donate $11 to the Boston College Campus School, which provides educational and therapeutic services for children with multiple disabilities. for every hour donated. To sign up, contact Pam Cugini-Giatras at pamela.cugini-giatras.1@bc.edu.

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The staff of O'Connell House is sponsoring a toy drive for the Italian Home for Children in Jamaica Plain. Interested donors can visit the Upper Campus house and select a Christmas tree ornament on which the name of a child and a desired gift are written.

"It doesn't take much effort to do something like this," said Zachry Barber '04, an O'Connell House staff member. "But it certainly means a lot to the people we are helping."

Interested participants can make donations until Sunday, Dec. 15.

The Women's Resource Center organized a similar drive last week that brought toys, toiletries and other donations for the residents of Transition House, a shelter for battered women and their children located in Cambridge.

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Reprising their successful Christmas outreach project of last year, the Student Services staff has created 16 baskets containing prizes such as a week at a condominium in Florida (no air fare included), baking supplies, a restaurant gift certificate, books and jewelry.

Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Department of Social Services, Catholic Charities and other beneficiaries.

The baskets went on display Monday and will be raffled off on Dec. 19. Raffle tickets are $1 each.

"It's a lot of work so it's important to keep in mind that this is all for charity" said Student Services Administrative Specialist Jane McGuire. "But it can make you feel pretty good."

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Community service is a yearlong affair for Prof. Joellen Hawkins (CSON), but the holidays find her particularly active. Among her other projects, Hawkins collects toys, games, clothing, household goods, toiletries and other items for more than a dozen social service agencies and organizations. Last year, she says, she sorted and delivered some 900 boxes and bags worth of donations, some of which she washed and mended.

For all the hustle and bustle, however, Hawkins says it is especially this time of year when her thoughts and prayers are with the people to whom she extends a hand.

"When I see the eagerness and enthusiasm of the pregnant women at Pine Street Inn, hopeful that their pregnancies are going to help them turn their lives around," she said, "I cannot help but feel spiritually uplifted.

"When I visit a prisoner at Framingham MCI monthly and see her sense of humor intact, I know the resilience of the human spirit. And when I care for homeless kids who return time and again for care, as alienated as they are from any formal systems of care, I am humbled that they place their trust in us."

-Compiled by Chronicle staff  

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