Barbara Connolly and her 4th grade students at Paton School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts have been learning about immigration. But for Barbara, textbooks and movies are not enough to teach the children about such an important subject. For the third year in a row, 4th grade students decided to take their education beyond the classroom and hold a coat drive for refugees that come to Worcester from around the world. Students were surprised to learn that some of these individuals did not own winter coats of their own, and that some had never experienced cold weather or snow!
This year the class collected even more donations than the previous year. Students created posters advertising the drive with magazine clippings and small drawings, using slogans such as, “Make a child warm!” They hung their posters proudly around the school and saw the benefits of their hard work when collection day came and they found themselves amongst an abundance of winter coats of all shapes and sizes.
After collecting the coats, Barbara contacted Lutheran Social Services, (now Ascentria Care Alliance) offering them the collected coats as a donation for refugees in the Services for New Americans program. Lutheran Social Services strives to provide an opportunity for each refugee and immigrant to create a new life, a life not only free from persecution and violence, but also built on hope and fulfillment.
As an organization we do our very best to remain committed to this goal. LSS provides services to immigrants that include: legal services, job training, employment services, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). With these supports it is hoped that immigrants will develop the skills they need to be productive participants in the US economy.
With much appreciation and gratitude SNA accepted the donation and worked hand-in-hand with the excited students to load the coats onto their van.
“It makes me happy to donate coats to people that need them," said Hayden, a student in the class.
Lutheran Social Services and the Services for New Americans program thank Barbara Connolly, her 4th grade class and the Paton School community. Their thoughtfulness and kind donations will warm the lives of our new neighbors for months and their hearts forever.
To learn more about holding your own Donation Drive, click here