Here comes the Gingerbread Express!
Through your generosity, the NEARI Children's Fund does more than provide necessities for our neediest students on a day-to-day basis. It spreads holiday magic in the form of giant gift bags and boxes, each designed to make the happiest of holidays come true.
Over the past 30 years, the Children's Fund Gingerbread Express has provided members and friends a way to ensure that no student feels the stigma of a bleak, gift-less holiday season.
Coordinator Val Staples works with teachers and other school personnel to develop a list of students whose families need assistance. Each of the students designs a gingerbread cookie cutout listing information about his/her clothing needs and gift wishes. The cutouts are then distributed anonymously to donors willing to fill the requests.
The D'Abate School in Providence is adopted in its entirety, since all students there are eligible for assistance. The Children's Fund brings a truckload of gifts - personalized for each child - and a couple of dozen volunteers to help with the distribution. The students' favorite guests are costumed gingerbread cookies, who dole out hugs along with snacks and candy canes.
Overall, this program has embraced thousands of needy children. In many instances, the gifts from the Gingerbread Express have been the only gifts the child has received. What a great way to feel the magic of the season!
Donor sign-up begins every fall, and wrapped gifts are delivered to NEARI by early December. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer to be a donor or to nominate a child (members only). Please help us give our needy students a holiday they will always remember.