by Brie Sosnov
On Christmas Eve, La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor provided young patients of Saint Christopher’s Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia with a Christmas abundant with presents for the 10th consecutive year.
La Salle partnered with the Committee to Benefit the Children, a local nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and their families who suffer from cancer, leukemia, or a chronic blood disorder. Together, they raised $16,000 to supply Christmas presents for 69 needy patients in the Hermatology and/or Oncology departments.
Each of the patients and their siblings created a Christmas wish list in November. These wish lists were used to select and purchase gifts for each patient and their sibling(s), in total 176 children.
A wide variety of Christmas presents were purchased, wrapped, tagged, bagged and sorted for delivery to the needy recipients. Among these presents were iPods, sports equipment, clothing, video games and bicycles. Each of the patient’s families was provided with a turkey and a bag of food along with a Shop Rite or Target gift card.
On Christmas Eve, students, members of the Alumni Association, Mothers Club, Men of La Salle, and La Salle faculty, organized the 897 gifts purchased for the children.
Sixty-one student volunteers, nine of which were dressed in full santa suits, divided into groups to deliver the presents to the homes of the patients’ families.
“The students learned not to take Christmas for granted,” said Chris Carabello, director of the project. “They also got to experience a family with a very sick child and what life is like for not only that child but for his parents and siblings. We were able to bring joy to that family and, hopefully, [help them] to forget about some of the sadness they experience often on a daily basis.”