SPRINGFIELD — Despite a pandemic and remote learning, Santa received a little help in spreading holiday cheer to children in foster care this year courtesy of American International College’s (AIC) Student Nurse Assoc.
For the fifth consecutive year, the AIC Student Nurse Assoc. (SNA) sponsored a holiday toy drive for children in foster care through the Center for Human Development (CHD). This year, although the toy drive was virtual, spirits and determination were high in continuing the tradition. In previous years, a tree was set up in the lobby of Courniotes Hall on the AIC campus decorated with tags bearing the first name of a child, age, and hoped-for toy.
Not to be deterred, SNA Co-president Estera Janik explained that “we weren’t able to set up the tree with the tags [this year], and so we created a Google Docs spreadsheet with all the children’s names and what they had on their wish list. People were able to go into the spreadsheet and pick gift tags that way. We had an absolutely amazing turnout, and we were able to help more than 90 kids from CHD.”
Fellow SNA Co-president Andrea Mazzarella added that “this toy drive wouldn’t have been possible without everybody that compassionately donated the presents. We all know that kids are kids, and for them to get what they wanted for Christmas means so much and gives them happiness on this important holiday.”
Most of the toys were collected in advance of Thanksgiving, followed by a dropoff at the Center for Human Development in West Springfield before the semester’s end.