NEW BRITAIN – A little Christmas miracle has arrived for children and young adults at the Klingberg Family Centers, where bags of stocking stuffers were donated by students, faculty and staff from E.C. Goodwin Technical High School.
“We were so worried that we weren’t going to be able to do this annual event. But we were able to work it out,” said Mary Beth Kelliher, an English language learner instructor at E.C. Goodwin. “It amazes me how generous the students and staff are. We are very proud.”
This is the 13th annual New Britain Klingberg Home Stocking Stuffer Drive that is run by the school’s junior class, under the direction of Kelliher, Gina Antonacci, a fellow instructor, and Dori Kowar, head of the general education department. Members of the school are encouraged to donate within their means toward the stocking stuffers drive to help bring some holiday spirit to those in need.
This year, there was an emphasis on teenager needs because they tend to be forgotten whenever there is a charity event, said Kelliher. “We reached out to the Klingberg Centers and were told that teenagers often have to go to a safe home due to circumstances or very last minute situations. There are so many toy drives for younger children so we wanted to focus our drive on teen gear.”
Klingberg Family Centers helps traumatized or troubled families get back on their feet through care, education and other programs.
Donations poured in over the course of a few weeks, including items like lip calm, fun body lotions, hats, gloves, trivia games, candy and more.
For students who often come from humble beginnings, Kowar said it always amazes her to see how generous E.C. Goodwin students are when it comes to donating to the drive.
“It’s not meant to be anything too fancy. Students and staff members donate small items that aren’t very expensive,” Kowar said. “But it still amazes how much we were able to get this year and it just shows how much they wanted to share the holiday spirit.”
A New Britain native, Kowar said there is an extra layer of importance laid upon the drive this year because of the ongoing pandemic.
“Students have been in the hybrid model, our teachers have been struggling and we just feel so bad for everyone, especially our students,” she said. “Their social and emotional health isn’t the same and so for the adults to still go out of their way to give some holiday happiness, it’s a little Christmas miracle to me.”
Kelliher echoed Kowar’s words, stating it is a tough holiday season for everyone and the school is only too happy to be able to contribute a little to those in need.
“With everything else getting canceled, we’re glad we were able to do this,” she said. “I want to give a special shoutout to everyone involved, including our principal, Dr. Annabelle Diaz, who understood how important this was and helped make it happen.”
Contact Catherine Shen at firstname.lastname@example.org