Madonna University makes Christmas jolly for families in need

Christina Salvatore

Hearing the first Christmas song on the radio, smelling the fresh pine from the newly bought tree, and seeing the beautiful lights and decorations illuminating the neighborhood brings joy to everyone.   The years most anticipated and celebrated holiday is a time for traditions, as well as giving back to someone less fortunate.  By getting involved in “Christmas for Kids”, you can bring happiness this holiday season to someone in need.

The Christmas for Kids project, ran by campus minister Sister Anita Marie Taddonio, career services assistant Nancy Penzato, as well as Madonna’s student life committee, has been going on for years and has always been a great success.

“This project has been going on for quite a while, and it is a very good program.  So far we have about 20 Madonna faculty and staff looking to help families,” said Penzato.

In the past, Christmas for Kids was done on a much higher scale such as giving large boxes of meals to each family; however, since the retirement of Madonna faculty member Edna Rankine the project has been cut back.  Rankine had years of experience and community connections with this task and it is hard for current faculty members to follow in her footsteps.  With the Madonna community scaling down they still have plans to make it an outstanding project during this holiday season.

Madonna has been in contact with Volunteers of America-Adopt a Family Christmas Program and have received a list of families in need.  Individuals at Madonna including staff are able to choose what family they want to sponsor and purchase different gifts for. 

This year, people involved are able to give a cash donation, new clothes for each child in the family, toys or gift items, and food for the whole family.  After individuals receive a family to sponsor, they use their information to do the shopping and deliver the items directly to them, because the community is able to indicate how many children they’d like to help makes it a program that brings happiness throughout everyone involved. 

“Many people in the Madonna family have already been asking to participate, which is great! We appreciate the love and care that is demonstrated in this and their enthusiasm,” said Taddonio.

This year, individuals sponsoring a family will also provide each person with a treat of cookies or candy.  If anyone wishes that their family have mainly food items, they may also include a food certificate with their gifts.

Caritas subcommittee at Madonna, which serves as the charitable service of the university, and Peace and Justice committee members, are assisting Gleaners Society food bank one Saturday a month.  Many other organizations on campus are also sponsoring a food drive for people and animals.  Although this food drive is not connected with Christmas for Kids, those particular families can benefit from Gleaners and their food will be distributed through other organizations and churches. 

“I really enjoy doing this every year, this is my project that I love,” said Penzato.

Student life, as well as other subcommittees, will be helping organize the delivery boxes and assist in other obligations regarding this project.  The participation in Madonna’s Appreciation Day was a huge success and major help.  All the proceeds will be used to help pay and transport all items for the families.

To participate in this fantastic program, or donate your time to wrap, please call the Office of Student Life and speak with Nancy Penzato for more information.  The gifts are being delivered by December 17 so be sure to hurry and adopt a family!

“The wonderful tradition of gifting each child with a book, an item of clothing and a game or toy will continue,” said Taddonio.