The recent blanket drive, which brought in 300 blankets to be distributed to the homeless, was organized by seniors Carolyn Brand, Ashley Maldonado and Sabrina Marques. The three girls travel to Gill each morning on a bus from Penn Station, Newark. Concerned for the homeless people they see in and around the station, the girls began thinking of ways they could help. Marques offers, "Carolyn came up with the idea for a blanket drive and Ashley and I thought that it was great. We all agreed that we wanted to actually hand the blankets to people in need; we didn’t want to simply drop them off at an organization."
At school, the girls presented their idea to Assistant Dean of Student Life Mike Wendell, who helped them arrange a competition in which the advisory that donated the most blankets would win a brunch at the Gladstone Market. Head Librarian Kristen Armstrong suggested that they involve the Middle School, a decision that garnered an additional 65 blankets. The girls also spoke with Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Tracey Goodson Barrett about finding an organization that would allow them to participate in distributing the blankets. Barrett put the girls in touch with Bridges Outreach, an organization based in Summit, New Jersey that serves the homeless in Newark and New York City. Later this month, the girls will join volunteers from Bridges Outreach in handing out blankets to the homeless in Newark.
Reflecting on the drive, the girls said "We are really happy with the outcome and grateful to everyone who came forward to help. There is so much generosity and community spirit at Gill. We hope that the blanket drive continues in the years ahead."
Congratulation to the Eileen Procaccino / Kim Turse advisory on winning the blanket-drive challenge. The group donated 38 blankets. Joining them for brunch at the Gladstone Market will be freshman Mikayla Rieger, who had the largest single contribution in the school, with 20 blankets.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.