Students with special needs shine with clothing drive
A Christmas tree adorned with scarves, gloves, toques and jackets instead of the classic bells, ornaments and ribbons captivates many eyes at the entrance to Loretto College School in Toronto.
While creating a bold aesthetic presentation is fun for high school girls and staff decorators, there’s a deeper, more altruistic motif at work here.
All of the warm men’s winter clothing that adorns this artificial Christmas tree will ultimately be donated to the Catholic non-profit organization You Are Loved Toronto, which provides Sunday prepared meals and clothing to those in need.
This Christmas campaign has been a tradition at Loretto College for several years now, but it took to another level last year when school chaplain Mary Frances DeNisco authorized students in special classes taught by Stephanie Ferrante, Daniel Fiorella and Vanessa Meli to lead the operation.
“They went to the classes to explain to the students and the staff what we were going to do, and they asked them to help us,” DeNisco said. “And then my friends would go out a few times a week and put the hot gear on the tree. Last year they did such a wonderful job that the tree toppled. For this reason, I changed the name of the player to “Tip the Tree”. “
December 15th was the deadline for collecting all donations. DeNisco is confident that the students will accomplish their mission again. The efforts of students and staff leaders – and the entire school community – were crowned with a tree-overturning ceremony on December 17, the last day before the Christmas holidays.
Sphilanthropic students Jelsi Spizzirri, Melody Pavao, Beatriz Ribeiro and Taya Kant from Meli’s class shared with The Catholic register what they appreciated in the organization of this effort which reflects the true spirit of the season.
Kant said this endeavor was truly rewarding as it “enjoys helping people, especially those less fortunate during COVID-19 (pandemic).”
Ribeiro, agreeing with his classmate, said that giving items like food or clothing to “people who don’t have a bed or a home can help them feel loved and healthier.” .
Pavao distills his pay-it-forward philosophy into a succinct statement: “If you can give back, you should give back.” “
The four girls and a few other peers will take their creation apart before school is over for the Christmas break and help DeNisco pack the bounty of winter clothes into donation boxes.
Spizzirri relishes every day remaining with the tall and colorful tree in the school’s atrium.
“It’s really cool, and people really like to see the tree every time they come in or out of school.”
Meli beamed with pride as she sang the praises of her four students.
“I have the great privilege of teaching these four young women every day. This campaign has been fabulous for everyone, ”she said. “They started this effort by making public announcements, which really gave them the opportunity to show what they have to the whole school. We have some very good saleswomen here, and it is because of them and the fabulous Ms. DeNisco that this campaign has been so successful.