By Colleen Meosky and Amanda Ojeda
Students and staff of Williamsville East have taken great initiative this holiday season to give back to our community with no fewer than seven distinct collections to support local charitable causes, and East is proud to have such caring leaders in our school. Clubs, administration, and Dr. Redmond’s Human Rights and Genocide class have organized charitable efforts for everyone to help the less fortunate.
Girl Up Holiday Card Drive
For the second year in a row, Mrs. Fey-Daly’s Girl Up club has been hosting its annual homemade holiday card drive to Cornerstone Manor and Courage of Carly. Cornerstone Manor is a local homeless shelter that provides shelter and safety to domestic abuse victims, and Courage of Carly is a pediatric organization at Roswell Park. Girl Up has been encouraging all students and staff to participate in this project to spread some holiday cheer and positivity to people who are suffering through trying times. The club would like to say thank you to Mrs. DeSantis and the English department for being especially supportive of this project with both Mrs. Lumb and Mrs. LoVullo getting their students involved and Mrs. DeSantis stopping by a meeting to offer her art skills!
Stitch Buffalo is an association that provides refugee and immigrant women financial empowerment by aiding them as they create beautiful handcrafted goods to sell. Their mission is to allow these women to celebrate their native textile traditions while earning money for themselves and promoting environmental sustainability. Elizabeth(Liz) Crawford, Giana Rizzo, and Carolyn Su have coordinated a collection of materials to donate to Stitch Buffalo this year. They have been asking people to bring in felt, fabric scissors, embroidery floss and scissors, and fiskars to help the refugee and immigrant women who rely on Stitch Buffalo for their materials. Crawford stressed the importance of Stitch Buffalo saying, “Organizations such as these are just so fundamental to communities and women since not only do organizations like Stitch Buffalo give women some sense of autonomy in which they may not have ever had before, but it also provides an opportunity for local communities to understand and become educated on the issues that put these refugee and immigrant women in these positions to begin with. Stitch Buffalo just feeds off of itself in spreading awareness and supporting these women in times of need, which ultimately helps the world become a little bit of a better place.”
Williamsville East Holiday Collection for Waterfront
The main office has organized a school-wide effort to aid the local Waterfront School this year. They are asking everyone to please donate gently used clothing, winter coats, hygiene products, electronics, and games and toys to help some struggling families this holiday season. Drop off bins are located in the commons as well as outside the front entrance under the overhang.
Dr. Redmond’s Human Rights and Genocide students have been incredibly active in coordinating fundraisers and donation drives this year, and the class is leading a fundraiser for the Compass House, a homeless shelter here in Western New York. The East community is asked to donate any winter apparel, underwear, Amazon gift cards, and more.
Afghan Refugee Drive
Seniors Claudia Lewis, Grace Hwang, Luke Lostumbo, and Michael Ge worked together with Jewish Family Services to launch the Afghan Refugee Donation Drive. The drive donated a multitude of household items including anything from pots and pans to bedding. The collection bins in the Main Office hall were packed with donations up until the collection date of December 3rd. Jewish Family Services along with 4 other refugee and immigrant service organizations have teamed up to create Buffalo United for Afghan Evacuees which is dedicated to calling on the community for donations for these evacuees, in the hopes that it will ease their transition to life here and get them on the path to self sufficiency.
Hands Around the World’s Toys for Treats Drive
Hands Around the World collaborated with Family Promise of western NY, the only homeless shelter that promises to keep families together when they lose their homes. Many homeless shelters provide services for men, women, and children separately, but only a few provide aid to the family as a whole. Hands Around the World club ran the Toys for treats Drive up until last Friday, December 10th. In exchange for donating a small, new toy for the children and teens at Family Promise, the club supplied a delicious treat. Thank you to everyone who donated, these toys are especially important this time of the year as they can truly brighten up a child’s holiday.
This holiday, Sophomores Avery Field, Sophia McVige, and junior Amanda Ojeda partnered with Dignity Grows. Dignity Grows is a local organization that is fighting hygiene poverty by sending out tote bags to local residents in need. The organization first collects monetary donations, then orders all the supplies needed to fill these tote bags with toiletries for both men and women. Each tote bag costs only $10 and lasts the recipient an entire month. These tote bags are then distributed to those in need through Jewish Family Services (providing mainly refugee and immigrant services), Haven House (a shelter for domestic violence survivors), and Compass House (shelter for runaway teens from abusive households). Thanks to the active East community, they have raised over $2,000, equating to 200 bags of toiletries for local community members, which surpasses the initial 150 bag goal.
With all these heartfelt efforts this month, it’s clear to see the compassion and leadership that makes East so special.