Eighteen university staff members recently spent a day volunteering at GiftsToGive in New Bedford – and experienced first-hand the joys of working to provide essentials to children in need.
GiftsToGive solicits, collects and sorts clothing, shoes, school supplies, toys, books and other items for distribution to disadvantaged children throughout the region from Brockton to Cape Cod. Each week, the organization donates 20,000 pounds of these items, and roughly 75,000 children are the direct beneficiaries each year. At the New Bedford warehouse, volunteers process and package orders to be distributed.
"In America today, there are two kinds of children,” explains James Stevens, founder and CEO of GiftsToGive. “One group of children lives very well, and the second group is living in poverty. The privileged children are clueless about how lucky they are, while the children who live in poverty are clueless about the choices they have. I created this program to develop a model that would bring together thousands and thousands of young people from both sides of the tracks to share a common goal: to learn a new kind of civic engagement. I call it tangible philanthropy."
"The GiftsToGive program is one the most successful examples of social justice one can imagine," says Fred Clark, '83, executive vice president and vice president for External Affairs at BSU. "There's a tremendous need in our communities, and I'm grateful to all the BSU people who so willingly volunteer their time and energy. We’ve found that we ourselves are the ultimate beneficiaries of service work.”