Holy Cross Students Step Up Holiday Service Efforts
Although community service is a year-round endeavor at Holy Cross H.S., students kick it into high gear this month spreading holiday cheer to those around the city that need it most.
On December 2, Holy Cross students partnered with teens from Mineola H.S. and Abraham Lincoln H.S. on Long Island to collect and assemble items for comfort kits for the homeless. Some of the products collected included gloves, soap, toothpaste, hats, socks, shaving gel and toothbrushes.
“I really feel that when you talk about how bad the economy is today, you need to concretize it and make it real and visible in order to motivate the kids,” said Michael Genovese, Director of the Service Learning Program at Holy Cross.
On December 16, select members of the Holy Cross concert band gave special holiday performances for two different groups of children with special needs. The morning performance was held at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, located in Bayside, and the afternoon concert was held at The Bronx-based St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf, allowing children there to experience music through vibration.
“Even though this was a difficult experience—and I have a relative who is mentally disabled—I feel good knowing that I could make their day a little better,” said Luis Aviles, a Holy Cross junior. “We performed jazz songs, most of them holiday-oriented.”
Classmate Preston Peck had this to say of his experience: “Although the scene was tragic for some of those children, I feel like we made an impact and that our songs resonated with them. A lot of them were moving to the music, and the room was really alive.”
The full band performed at the school on the evening prior, and, while admission to the event was free, attendees were asked to contribute a new, unwrapped toy for boys or girls to be donated to the St. John’s Bread and Life Program, located in Brooklyn (which, in turn, distributes toys to some 4,000 disadvantaged children).
Meanwhile, for the third consecutive year, Holy Cross faculty member Joanne Doepfner organized the Adopt-A-Box drive to collect food, clothing, toiletries, batteries, DVDs, disposable cameras and other items to package and ship to our troops overseas. Contributions from faculty, staff and students filled 25 cartons to overflowing and covered the shipping costs.
On December 20, Holy Cross teamed up with Assemblymember Ed Braunstein to deliver personal comfort kits to patients of the St. Albans-based Veterans Hospital. Items for these kits were donated and packaged by members of the Holy Cross Women’s Guild and their sons.
Another event, the widely-popular Christmas Classic, will take place on December 21. A long-standing tradition at Holy Cross going back almost 30 years, the Classic is a faculty/student basketball game which raises funds for, and awareness of, some charitable organizations in the city area.
“The idea of the Classic is two-fold,” said Genovese. “First and foremost, it was established to raise money for those in need. The second purpose is to engender school spirit and good will as part and parcel of the Holy Cross mission of hospitality and celebration of mind and heart.”
The event takes place over a period of five days during which seniors solicit funds from their peers, friends, parents and employers. The 15 seniors who solicit the most donations earn a spot on the team. This year’s donations will be distributed, primarily, to St. John’s Bread of Life; Little Sisters of the Poor, serving the elderly in Queens Village; and a specific local family that has children with special needs.