BY: JOANNA BEACH & NEIL GRASSO
Staff Reporter & Assistant News Editor
You may have seen a person in a bear costume walking around campus, or people with buttons with a teddy bear holding a present, or even a donation box. This is the work of Pioneers for Presents and the first ever Little Red’s Toy Drive.
The mission of the toy drive is to collect 500 new, unwrapped toys for deserving families in the Bridgeport area.
“Just donating one toy could be a child’s entire Christmas,” said Claire Conlan, a member of Pioneers for Presents.
Pioneers for Presents is made up of students in CM-227, a class about practical applications of advertising and public relations. They are working in partnership with members of Greek Life, the Office of Campus Ministry, and the Office of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning.
“Campus Ministry and Volunteer Programs work tirelessly to provide necessities for Sacred Heart’s adopted families. To us, toys are necessities for children too!” said Professor Paley, the professor of CM-227.
The national poverty rate is 14%. In Bridgeport, the poverty rate is at 22%, according to data from the US census and Data USA, a comprehensive website and visualization engine of public U.S. Government data
“There are some families in Bridgeport who struggle to give their children a toy for Christmas,” said Conlan. “Our professor and her students at another university created a very successful, similar toy drive and she thought it would be great if we could create another one here.”
Students and faculty members will have multiple opportunities to donate new, unwrapped toys to the drive before the semester ends.
Pioneers for Presents will be collecting donations at table times in the main academic building throughout the month of November.
They will also be at the end of Sunday masses from now until the end of the semester, taking donations and advertising the toy drive to the community.
Chipotle will also be supporting a fundraiser on Nov. 27 in Fairfield (340 Grasmere Ave) from 4–8 p.m. Proceeds from the event will go to buying new toys for the drive.
Members of the class are working together with Greek organizations to set up “toyraisers” to encourage fraternity and sorority members to participate.
“It’s an initiative that weaves together our personal and spiritual values with our sense of joy and fun. We’re looking for small acts of loving kindness from as many people as possible,” said Paley.
To help the class reach their goal of 500 toys, they are asking for campus and community-wide participation. “Students and their families, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and local businesses are all encouraged to help spread the joy and give a toy,” said Paley.