Our lease is up soon. We must move – five miles up the road. Our new location will enable us to triple our impact for the same costs. Please donate what you can – no amount is too small!
Our building has been sold and our rent has tripled! We’ve secured a long term lease with an option to purchase, five miles up the road (The original Titleist golf ball factory).
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.
With over 30,000 SouthCoast children living in poverty, the need is overwhelming! Winter is our busiest time of the year and we are awash with orders for warm clothes, coats and school supplies.
WE ARE SOLD OUT! Waiting List ONLY
Sunday, December 8th, 1pm, at the mill! We’re building gingerbread houses together!
Our objective for this event is to continue to build a more caring and connected community, and to support our early literacy and healthy families initiatives.
We’re asking our distribution partners, local agencies, elementary school staff, faith-based and community organizations to refer the children that would most benefit from the experience. This is our third annual event and it is NOT open to the general public. Past photos here
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.
We talk a lot about building a more caring community. When Erik introduced us to Marquis and we heard his story, we started to understand a new reality.
The new reality for us is that no matter who you are – that to grow you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.
(Video used with permission of Erik Andrade)