January 2014 News
January 2014 News
Posted on 02/06/2014
This is the image for the news article titled January 2014 News

District schools make holidays a time of giving

WEST HAVEN, Jan. 6, 2014 — Molly Renz knows how special it is to visit the Toy Closet when spending time at Yale-New Haven Hospital as a patient--she’s chosen goodies from the closet around a dozen times since she was 1 year old and started receiving treatments at the hospital for seizures.

Last month, the Seth G. Haley Elementary School third-grader decided to pay it forward and help other kids who are at the hospital. Molly, her classmates and teacher Kevin Mahoney collected around 100 new toys for the closet from the Haley community and had them delivered Dec. 18.

Haley and other schools across the West Haven school district spent much of the holiday season holding toy and food drives to help community members in need and some families in their own schools. Though students and schools collect donations for various causes throughout the year, their giving spirit kicked into high gear last month.

Haley’s toy drive benefitted not only Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Toy Closet, but also the playroom of Molly’s favorite Child Life specialist at the hospital.

“With the holidays coming up, Molly realized that some children would have to stay in the hospital and not be at home. She wanted to make sure that the other kids receive toys when they leave the hospital and that they get special presents on holidays,” Mahoney said.

The Carrigan Intermediate School Student Council held its own drive for the Toy Closet, collecting close to 400 toys. About 32 Student Council members, along with four staff members who advise the club, boarded a school bus Dec. 19 to personally deliver the toys, which ranged from sock puppet kits, to board games, to tea sets, to action figures. This is the second year in a row the school has donated to the closet.

Haley also held a program called “Merry Mittens,” in which people purchased items for Haley families in need. Alma E. Pagels Elementary School organized a similar program for its own students and families who needed a helping hand.

Edith E. Mackrille Elementary School collected mittens and coats for families staying in a local shelter, while Savin Rock Elementary School staff members sponsored two families with children at their school. Forest Elementary School helped Forest families in need during the holidays, with staff providing gifts, gift cards, clothing and food to some families and finding local organizations to provide assistance to others.

At Washington Elementary School, staff members “adopted” 12 Washington families who needed some extra help around the holidays. They purchased gifts—everything from microscopes and flying helicopters, to dolls and scooters—for the families or donated money to a social worker who purchased toys from Toys R Us for each family’s children. The PTA also pitched in with monetary donations.

Bailey Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society held a food drive, and the entire school participated in a Toys for Tots collection.

West Haven High School clubs were busy organizing donation drives as well. The Peer Advocates ran a collection for Toys for Joy with West Haven firefighters, while multiple clubs collected food and winter clothing for needy families in West Haven.

Meanwhile, WHHS collected donations for a West Haven family that was going through a hard time after hot oil was thrown on one of the family members. The collection helped the family receive more than $1,600 in donations (some came from as far away as Florida) and a brand new bed from Carroll Cut-Rate Furniture.

Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro said the district’s students and staff members are always willing to step up and help people in the West Haven community and beyond.

“Their generosity and kindness surely helped brighten the holiday season for many local families,” he said.

Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114; susan.misur@whschools.org