Our lease is up! When our building was sold two years ago, our rent was tripled! Now it gets even better – we learn from the newspaper, that the mill is being demolished! The challenging news is that we need to raise the cash to retrofit the new space and then of course – to move all our stuff as soon as the public schools let out!
Please donate what you can – any amount matters!
What a terrific afternoon! Photos HERE
With the leadership and mentoring of UMASS Dartmouth students – students from Roosevelt Middle School and Scouts from New Bedford Troop and Pack Seven joined together to support Mother Earth!
On a very rainy and cold Saturday morning sixteen Bishop Stang High School Students chose to make a difference. Their gift of donations and time will help over 50 local children, many of them homeless and all of them living in poverty!
Photos from our day are here.
Student Hallie Manchester had this to say about their visit - ” I woke up on Saturday at 7:30 to drive to Stang, where a medium sized group of us would meet before spending the day at GiftsToGive in New Bedford. Unsure of what to expect, I went through my normal morning routine and got breakfast with two of my friends who would be with me all day. When the three of us got to Stang, we went into one of the administration offices where there was a large amount of donated objects from clothes to children’s toys. As we loaded the bags and boxes into our cars, we were feeling anxious and wondered what this place was going to be like. We all were groggy and tired yet excited to be having the opportunity to help others.
For us there was a special meaning in the marathon!
We’re a stop for the wheelchair teams. We like it a lot – when we all work together, amazing things happen.
We’re grateful to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick for their continuing financial support and we’re so very proud of them for making this half-marathon such an inclusive and wonderful event. Our special thank you to Paul Mello and the BayCoast Bank volunteers for managing the last of the Schwartz Center wheelchair stops along the marathon route.
Photos from the New Bedford Half-Marathon and a part of our day are here.
This week we met sixteen students from Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton.
Photos from our day are here
We talked as a group about child poverty, the importance of education and graduating high school. We talked about giving, philanthropy, making a difference, social justice, big citizenship, the power of one, the power of a group and then we went to work. These sixteen students inspected, cleaned and processed enough great stuff to allow us to help three dozen local children in-need. How great is that?
Twenty-two, Pembroke Middle School, Student Leaders, SHATTERED our standing collection drive record for winter coats, by collecting and then delivering and sorting 714 coats and a ton of hats, gloves and scarves.
Some kids talk about making a difference, the Student Leadership Club students walked the walk and we have the photos to prove it!
What do you get when you mix sixty-five university students, stir in a sorority and a fraternity, add in four hours of time, sprinkled with 5,000 pounds of donated items, fifty or so middle school students and of course – twenty-two pizzas? Read on!
Bridgewater State University students from Delta Phi Epsilon and Phi Kappa Theta worked together and proved that there really is power in numbers and that great things can be accomplished when we work together.
For us, mixing these university students helped our middle school student volunteers see another side of maturity, student life and possibility. What excellent role models for our younger student volunteers. Over 120 students, of all ages, worked together and made a week’s worth of donations – disappear!
We think every student should have a savings account for college, most importantly – all students should start a savings account. Towards this objective, we’re launching a program with our student interns and our favorite bank, The Bristol County Savings Bank and our favorite banker Ms. Wood Dupont! Ms. Wood Dupont said – “The Bank is pleased to partner with GiftsToGive in their efforts to educate their interns on financial literacy and the importance of savings. We believe these early lessons will pay dividends for the rest of their lives’.
Yesterday, Student Intern CamRon Frazier opened his College Fund Savings account with the Bristol County Savings Bank – with matching donations from GiftsToGive CEO, Jim Stevens and Domino’s Pizza CEO, Nelson Hockert-Lotz in honor of CamRon being our trailblazer! Nelson had this to say -“The mission of every service organization should be to build leadership capacity and enrich lives. GiftsToGive gets that, and our supporting educational attainment among youth volunteers is simply at the core of that mission.”
Early adopter and GiftsToGive volunteer Janet Galipeau stopped in on Saturday to donate sixty pairs of children’s socks!
But wait … there’s more! Janet was on her way to her friend Susan’s 60th birthday party. What do you get for a special friend who has everything? How do you really express your love, your friendship, your caring?
For Janet it was simple – her gift to her friend Susan was something that money cannot buy - “A Very Real Act of Kindness and Caring.”
The longest journey begins with a single step. The first step in this story started with an email from Carolyn, Hadleigh and Braelyn’s mom - “On 1/19 my daughters are turning 8 and 10. I am interested in having them and some friends volunteer at GiftsToGive as part of their party on 1/18. I see stories of kids that had friends bring presents to donate instead of birthday presents for them, could the girls and their guests also volunteer their time?”
Carolyn sent a follow-up email after the girls’ visit - “As parents, we try our best to teach our daughters about being thankful for their blessings and look for opportunities to give back to those in need.”
We’re collecting “gently-used” sports balls! Spring is on the way and our current inventory is wiped out!
Student Intern, Molly has organized a sports balls collection drive with the Boston University Hockey Team. On Friday February 28, in their game against Northeastern at BU, buy one ticket, get one free if you donate a sports ball.
Student Intern Stephen is working with Bishop Stang High School on a collection drive!
Sonia Cabral, Nicole Resendes, Julie Leach, David Martins, Garrett Gomes, Joshua Brien, and Jackie Bartoloni volunteered today and helped us inspect and sort children’s clothes. They also brought donations of clothing, toys and books.
DCF Manager Sonia Cabral wrote in an email “Our agency is so appreciative for the incredible service and the help your organization offers not only to the families we serve, but also to the community. We look forward to future volunteer work and collaboration with GiftsToGive.”
UPDATE: January 20, 2014 WHAT AN AMAZING DAY!
Erik Andrade hit the ball out of the park, with the bases loaded!
Erik managed a “teach-in” for 300 students, lead the program and performed his poetry. Middle school students from Fall River, New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Acushnet, Freetown-Lakeville, Westport, Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester concluded their teach-in and then joined together at noon and marched to the GiftsToGive mill where they volunteered and spent some time reflecting on what they had learned. Many students also pledged to sixty hours of on-going community service through SouthCoast Serves a UMD initiative.
If a picture is worth a thousand words – take a look at 634,000 words!
To call the day inspiring or amazing or hopeful are all accurate, but that does not come close to explaining the power of the possibilities these young people voiced, felt and shared with one another.
Michaelah Noelle Nunes is an amazing young women!
Michaelah has competed for 4 years in the Miss New Bedford’s Outstanding Teen pageant.
This is her second consecutive year hosting a community drive to benefit GiftsToGive as part of her chosen platform, titled A Real Life Science Experiment: The Ripple Effect.
Michaelah intends to show others how even the smallest form of contribution, much like a drop in a small pond, can have a ripple effect, reaching far and wide.
But wait … there’s more!
Lead by Michael Perreira and Alex Pinarreta students at the Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School and members of the Business Professionals of America (BPA) Chapter’s officer team held a donation drive to gather clothing, toys, and books for children ages three to twelve. The students and staff at the school generously donated many items which were delivered to GiftsToGive.
Every once in-a-while, we’re flabbergasted and we don’t flabbergast easily!
Nicole Long, one of our earliest adopters wrote last week - “SO PROUD of my niece Abby and her cousin Georgia: over Christmas vacation they brainstormed a charitable organization called “GAB” and collected over $100 in one weekend to help people less fortunate. This morning, Abby gave me the money… (Which is being matched by their Grandmother Blair!) to deliver to GiftsToGive and I can’t think of a more beautiful start to a new year. Love these girls and their giant hearts.”
The winners of Tabor Academy’s first quarter “Green Wars” competition, were the 25 young women in Baxter House! They collectively chose to give back.
Under the careful eye of the dorm’s “dean of green,” junior Sara Kosicki, the Baxter House residents were declared the campus’s best and most conscientious recyclers. As a result, money accumulated at the redemption center was given to the Baxter girls as a prize for their dorm’s thoughtful approach to caring for the planet. Rather than use the money for a weekend pizza party, the girls chose to use the money to buy socks and underwear. Why? Because they answered our call for help! Our supply of new socks and underwear, essentials many take for granted, is dangerously low. Hearing this, these amazing students acted!
When we think about service, one of the first things we think about is our Fire Department. Men and women who put themselves in harm’s way every time they report to work.
Today we met Firefighter Andy Bois. Andy grew up in New Bedford with our Russell Souza and have they have kept a friendship since their school days. Andy brought us several hundred brand new toys courtesy of the New Bedford Fire Department’s annual collection drive.
Why I Volunteer at GiftsToGive, by Sarah Davis Blodgett
I have been helping to manage mill operations this fall and winter. The last few weeks have been very busy as people clear out their houses to get ready for the holidays and their donations have been pouring in.
One donation that came in on Saturday, reinforced why I spend three days each week volunteering at this amazing children’s charity. It was several bags of children’s clothes, books, and toys with this accompanying letter:
Every Monday and Wednesday, students from grades 6-8 at Normandin Middle School have chosen to take part in the 21st Century grant program – “Community Service Group.” The purpose of the 21st Century program is to establish or expand community learning centers that operate during out-of-school hours and provide students with academic enrichment opportunities along with other activities designed to complement academic programming. Teacher John Martins oversees the programming and facilitates all the different after-school group’s needs.
Two hundred, SouthCoast Elementary School architects, from 11 public schools, came together on Sunday afternoon, to build a village. Students from New Bedford High School’s National Honor Society and Seawolves from Tabor Academy assisted.
The Gierhart Family sponsored the entire event! Photos from our afternoon are here.
Update: Monday, December 2, 2013 The Scouts of Pack 32 in Marion, made a huge difference today!
In November the scouts participated in their soap box derby and used the event to: help help a local family, collect donations for a food pantry and collecting “gently-used” children’s things for GiftsToGive.
This afternoon, after school, Pack 32 in full force - descended on the mill in a literal caravan of vehicles, full of not only scouts, but the treasure they had collected between themselves and other families in Marion.
We need adult volunteer help in the mornings, while our student volunteers are otherwise occupied, to help us process donations and fill orders.
On Saturday, 300 elementary students from our neighborhood visited the mill with their families and we celebrated reading and family.
Older students from ten area middle schools, high schools and universities were exemplary role-models. They staffed literacy-based game tables, greeted our youngest students and facilitated their choosing six, brand new books and a pumpkin of their choice.
We’re so proud of our older students and their volunteering to support learning to read and reading! Photos
There we were … early on a Friday afternoon getting ready for our Saturday event, The Third Annual Great Pumpkin For Early Literacy.
It was the end of a long week, the end of a long day and there was still a ton of work to do. Then a bus pulled up in front of the mill and twenty BSU students rolled out .. all looking to make a difference.
These twenty students did the work of forty and when they finished – all we needed done for our event was completed and we were good to go.
When people tell us about the problem with kids today … we’ll smile, we’ll wait politely for them to finish, and then we’ll tell them the story about the students we met on a rainy Friday afternoon from Bridgewater State University!
This year’s freshmen class set new GiftsToGive records! Not only in making a huge difference but they collectively processed a week’s worth of donations in a morning!
Besides setting a new record for the most amount of donations processed in a morning, this year’s class helped to define giving and service in a whole new way. Photos here.
Here is what Student Journalist, Will Landry had to say about their combined class experience:
GiftsToGive student volunteers along with mentors Matt and Bob met up with over 400 neighbors in the first annual walk to raise awareness around the crisis we share as a community about the alarming rise in suicides, especially among teens.
Student leaders Nathan Turner and Camron Frazier took the point, they are GiftsToGive uber volunteers and founding members of the Gentlemen’s Round Table.
Performance in reading on the third grade MCAS has not improved since 2001. Among children from low-income families, a staggering 65% lag in reading.
The 2013 MCAS scores show that third grade reading proficiency rates have declined four percentage points since 2012.
This year, 43% of third grade students did not score proficient in reading. The consequences of failing to read by this age are devastating. Struggling readers are four times less likely to graduate high school on time, which in turn significantly impacts employment opportunities and lifetime earnings.
We have made no real progress on this critical benchmark. Unless and until we find a way to build a community around our children learning to read and then reading to learn – nothing will change.
Sixty BSU students from two groups: The Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority and The African Students Association came in at different times on Saturday and processed a week’s worth of donations in one day!
With over 30,000 SouthCoast children living in poverty, the need is overwhelming and we’ve been swamped with orders for back to school supplies and winter clothes.
We’re able to help 400 local children in-need as a direct result of their combined effort.
* UPDATE: We had an amazing tomato experience this summer. We harvested 463 lush, unbelievably great tasting heirloom tomatoes and donated 250 to the local food pantry and our student volunteers took the rest home!
When we told Bob Feingold (our tomato plant benefactor) what a bumper crop we had, he told us we were relatively unique as most people experienced blight and poor results. Bob thought that maybe our being on the ocean and the salt air helped to mitigate the fungi that were so prevalent. We learned a lot about tomato gardening, working as a team, responsibility, over-watering, organics, bumble bees and living off the land. We can’t wait for next year, we’ve set a goal of 600 tomatoes and helping two food pantries!
ORIGINAL STORY: We decided to plant only TOMATOES this summer. Local attorney Robert Feingold, grew them from seeds and gave us the babies for planting – our first Heirloom Project.
Last Saturday, Tabor Academy students and their faculty/advisers descended on an old Berkshire Hathaway mill in the south-end of New Bedford and moved the needle! Photos are here.
Their gift? – 400 hours of motivated, high energy labor. With over 30,000 SouthCoast children living in poverty, the need is overwhelming and we were able to completely morph our processing operation from summer into fall and winter, enabling us to help over 500 local children get the right clothes and school supplies for the new school year.
Talking the talk about making a difference is easy – doing the work, is another matter. For us – Tabor Academy students – walked the walk!
Talk about Big Citizenship – sixty-eight Boston University freshmen spent two days with us. Their impact was outrageous!
These students gave a collective 400 hours of their love and their labor to help process thousands of items – “gently used” clothes, books, toys and school supplies. Photos from their two days are here
Talk about Tangible Philanthropy – their gift will help over 500 local children be able to start the new school year with the basic essentials they need.
With over 30,000 SouthCoast children living in poverty, the need is overwhelming and in two days we were able to process a week’s worth of output.
Molly’s quest to collect 1,000 gently used sports balls has hit snag after snag, then last week something positive happened.
The back story – Initially Molly went to the Bruins and asked for help in the form of a player coming to New Bedford and she and her hockey team would host a skating event. The Bruins could not send a player but did offer some of their surplus equipment – so that is working itself through. Then Molly went to the Celtics for help and they also could not send a player down to New Bedford. (You can see Molly’s letters to them below).
The positive thing that happened last week came in the form of Boston University and FYSOP! Sixty-eight incoming BU freshmen spent two days at the mill helping us process clothes (we were at the critical process place of swapping out summer clothes for winter clothes and getting ready for back to school.) See that story here.
Last week we received an email from Anthony Moccia asking to be connected to Molly. Who is Anthony Moccia you ask? Anthony is a senior at BU and was one of the chaperones for the the visiting BU freshmen. Here is Antony’s email –
Success .. on several levels!
Here’s the simplified story – On his day off, Super Hero Joe arrives with his bucket truck, locks into his safety harness and proceeds to strip the ivy off the front of the mill – reclaiming our building sign and three, huge (bottom floor) windows. Photos here
When we talk about Big Citizenship and Tangible Philanthropy, we talk about Joe and Sheri and their family.
Every once in a while something happens that fuels change. That something, for us, is Martha Kay.
It’s one thing to facilitate thousands of children in community service, it’s another to connect them to service learning and then to something much bigger than themselves.
Some people talk the talk, others walk the walk, Martha does them both – every single day! Thousands of student’s lives are better for what they learned on her watch over 38 years as a New Bedford Educator and in her retirement Martha is continuing to connect thousands of children to a pathway for a better life. Rather than have us talk about her – we’ll defer to the Standard Times and the YWCA. Here is what the Standard Times had to say about Ms. Kay.
Nine year-old Abby is in the 4th grade and lives over an hour away from New Bedford.
For the second year in a row, Abby asked friends coming to her birthday party not to bring her any gifts. Instead, she wanted them to bring new things that she could donate to GiftsToGive.
Abby likes to bring everything down to the mill with her sister, Maggie. Maggie is in the 2nd grade and just turned seven.
Summer Intern Wrap-up Party Luncheon: Ice cream cake and water balloons in the conference room!
Our summer intern story is a story of: service learning, small, medium and large challenges, heartbreak, immaturity, revelation, love, hope, mentoring, education, relationship, service, giving, daily Khan Academy math, frustration, maturity, modeling, customer-service, schedules, disappointment, hard projects, easy projects, hard work, being lazy, meeting hundreds of new people from all over, honor, consequences, integrity, reading, inspiration, fun, open heart surgery, wisdom teeth extraction, poison ivy, sunburn, “what-if”, public relations, marketing, communication, non-communication, truth, independence, explicit instruction, fetching, leadership, cleaning the lavatories, patience, respect, fractions, healthy choices, smart choices, not so smart choices, being invisible, gardening, grumpy adults, being seen and not heard, breaking things, loosing things, organizing things, asking for things, finding things, more pizza than you could ever imagine and pretty much all the other stuff that happens, every day, at the mill!
With over 30,000 SouthCoast children living in poverty, going back to school is very difficult for lots of kids – especially when it comes to clothes and school supplies.
When people ask us how we are able to help so many local students with school supplies, we tell them about our friend Barbara and her colleagues at Edison Mission Marketing and Trading (EMMT) in Boston.
15 year-old Intern and New Bedford High School Sophomore, Camron Frazier was honored Friday night at the Bay Sox final game by SouthCoast Serves (a UMass Dartmouth initiative) for his extraordinary volunteer service.
The Bay Sox ended their 2013 season with a 7-0-shutout victory over the visiting Ocean State Waves at Paul Walsh Field, which was nice!
THE NEW NEWS: With the help of Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter, we’re staffing an adult mentor to work with Student Volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays, after school from 2:30 to 5pm and EVERY Saturday from 9-2. (This means that during these times – students 17 and under do NOT have to volunteer with a parent or guardian, because we’ll have a dedicated adult mentor on the mill floor!)
Summer interns Freddy and Tyler, spent last Saturday volunteering at Alma del Mar, to help them build their playground.
Some kids talk the talk, others walk the walk and then there are the select few that help to define the great hope of their generation.
WAY TO GO …… Tyler and Freddy!
We think that Alma del Mar Public Charter School is the most exciting thing happening in public education and we help them whenever we can … you should too!
GiftsToGive Saturday was a “truck-load” of fun. The Junior and Senior Friends of Joseph H Plumb Memorial Library, Rochester, hosted a “Give and Go” drive for GiftsToGive last Saturday.
Lisa Fuller, who manages Youth Services said - “The Jr. Friends, the library youth group, created signs, and donned in their Jr. Friends T-shirts, parked themselves on the side of the roadway promoting donations! They also helped people unload their cars. They received many wonderful baby items, lots of toys and clothes, and even some monetary donations. The Sr. Friends helped sort the items, and load up the truck. They were very excited that the truck was at least half full!”
On a stormy Friday evening in June, the GiftsToGive volunteer management team went back to school and experienced first hand, a most perfect lesson in giving and service.
Talk about Expeditionary Learning, Tangible Philanthropy and Big Citizenship!
Last Tuesday, sixty-four, 4th and 5th Grade, DeMello Elementary School, Student Council members and 10 adults, spent three hours volunteering with us at the mill, processing thousands of donated toys and articles of clothing.
Their gift? … 200 hours of inspecting, cleaning, sorting and processing power. Talk about giving and service!
Through their combined efforts, we were able to process enough great stuff to help 64 homeless and at-risk, local children.
Dartmouth Middle School thought they’d collected a lot of books for GiftsToGive in 2010 when they collected over 3,200 gently used books for kids and teens in one week.
Then they smashed that record in 2011 by collecting over 6,000 gently used books.
Now DMS students have smashed that record once again by donating 7,154 books!
When Nate invited friends to his birthday party, he asked them to bring gifts of new socks and underwear for boys and girls who didn’t have the things that they all had.
Nate agreed with his mother that he already had enough “stuff” and decided instead to help kids who didn’t. His friends thought this was pretty cool too.
Jason spent his senior year at Dartmouth High School, as our Social Entrepreneurial Intern.
Normandin Middle School Principal Bill Burkhead “Blogs” on the Sorority and Mentoring
My name is Nathan Dos Reis I am a Boy Scout in Troop 20, Squanto District, Old Colony Council. Our troop is located at 400 Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. I am a senior at New Bedford High School and I am enjoying this final year in high school.
Eight year-old Paige, did something amazing on her birthday.
Her parents held a party and Paige asked her friends to bring a new birthday present for a GiftsToGive child, who would not ordinarily receive a gift on their birthday.
Paige brought us 31 new birthday presents to be given to local children on their special day.
In her “doing” Paige has not only made a huge difference, but has become a most excellent example to her siblings and friends about the power of giving.
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with video cameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.
How we learn language is important – because children growing up in poverty, by the THIRD grade, have heard 30 million fewer words then kids that LUCKED OUT!
Luther Ronzoni Vandross (April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005) was an American singer-songwriter and record producer. During his career, Vandross sold over 25 million records worldwide and received eight Grammy Awards including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four different times.