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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac kicks off holiday donation season

Peyton McKenzie
Quinnipiac University is hosting several holiday donation drives, including a Toys for Tots drive and a winter coat drive.

Quinnipiac University’s Department of Health and Wellness is collaborating with the Department of Public Safety to co-sponsor a Toys for Tots drive through Sunday, Dec. 10.

There are two designated drop-off locations on the Mount Carmel Campus, one in the Recreation and Wellness Center and the other in Public Safety’s Irmagarde Tator Hall office. There is also a donation box located in the School of Medicine’s front lobby on the North Haven Campus.

Children in New Haven County will receive the donated items, allowing Quinnipiac students to have a direct impact on the local community.

“When we act collectively by giving to others in need, we strengthen our sense of community,” said Don DiStefano, Public Safety’s administrative captain. “(Toys for Tots) brings our campus community together by practicing the important values of compassion, empathy and generosity when we give to those less fortunate.”

The U.S. Marine Corps began hosting the Toys for Tots drive in 1947. The program  aims to distribute new toys to underprivileged children during the holiday season. In 2022, with the help of more than 50,000 volunteers, Toys for Tots distributed an unprecedented 24 million toys to roughly 10 million disadvantaged children.

“I’ve been working with Toys for Tots at the various jobs I have worked at for the past 10 years,” said Natalie Rivera, Quinnipiac’s fitness and well-being coordinator. “Whenever I work anywhere new I try to incorporate Toys for Tots in any way I can.”

Public Safety has hosted Toys for Tots drives in the past, but Rivera helped restart the initiative this year.

“It is a great way for me to personally honor my grandfather,” Rivera said, sharing that her grandfather was a Marine Corps veteran and involved in charity efforts.

Both Rivera and DiStefano have personal ties to the toy drive.

“As a Marine veteran, the significance of the program for me is that it is a noble cause, rich in history and tradition,” DiStefano wrote in a statement to The Chronicle. “When Natalie contacted me, she did not have to ask twice.”

The directors of the drive are seeking new, unwrapped toys for donation. 

“When these families and children are going to pick them up, it adds that extra sense of magic and joy if they get something that’s entirely brand new,” Rivera said.

Students are asked not to donate items related to violence, such as toy guns or knives. Rivera instead suggested donating items such as coloring books, crayons, board games and stickers.

“It’s a great way to add to the sense of community because you don’t have to donate a lot,” she said. “You could go to your local dollar store or at Five Below and grab something quick that is less than five bucks and have that be your donation. I think it’s a cool way for college students to get involved in giving without really breaking the bank.”

Rivera said Quinnipiac’s Toys for Tots drive has received an estimated 50 donations so far. 

Tami Reilly, Quinnipiac’s fitness and well-being director, said donating or volunteering during the holiday season improves emotional well-being, a sense of belonging and gratitude.

“Giving your time is just as important,” Reilly said. “The Office of Student Engagement has tons of ways that students can get involved if they can’t contribute to the drive.”

Beyond the Toys for Tots drive, Habitat for Humanity is hosting a sock donation drive at Quinnipiac. There are four donation boxes on the Mount Carmel Campus: in the Community Engagement office in the Campus Life suite, the Student Government Association suite, the first floor of the Arnold Bernhard Library and the Honors Lounge in the Center for Communications and Computing and Engineering. There are also donation boxes near the York Hill Campus mail center.

The School of Communications is also sponsoring a winter coat drive to help local students and families at Hamden’s Spring Glen Elementary School. Drop-off boxes are located in the communications dean’s suite in the CCE and in the lobby of the McMahon Center in the School of Business. Winter boots, backpacks and school supplies are also accepted. The deadline to donate these items is Thursday, Dec. 12.

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Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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