Friday, December 21, 2012

Thank you, Charlestown

Christmas gift drive exceeds goals

SANTA'S WORKSHOP: in Tim Quillen's (L) garage sorting donations
into gift bags. With Tim, CDTC members Suzanne Ferrio and Regina
DeAngelo who chaired the effort for the CDTC
This Christmas, Charlestown Democrats teamed up with Operating Engineers Local 57 to bring some joy to children who have been taken under the care of the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) in South County. The goal was to fulfill the Christmas gift wish lists of 30 of these children.

These children, aged two years old to 17, are in foster care or shelters. Their wish lists were often heartbreakingly modest – one child asked for socks. Several asked for pajamas. Others asked for towels and blankets. A couple of them are approaching 18, when they will “age out” of DCYF, and their wish lists focused on household goods they would need to set up life on their own.

The requests for less basic needs – for toys or other more traditional children’s holiday gifts – showed that these children did not have very high expectations.

Though the official end of the gift drive was last Monday, December 17, gifts continue to come in. According to Charlestown Democratic Vice-chair Tim Quillen, who started this program a few years ago through his union, not only were the lists of all 30 of the children originally on the list fulfilled (and often exceeded), but there were enough gift donations to take care of at least another 20 children.

Thanks to the members of the Operating Engineers union, Charlestown Democrats and area residents who responded to this gift drive, this effort nearly doubled its goal and will bring a better Christmas to a lot of South County children.