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The Recorder – GCC honor society spearheading toy drive

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Published: 11/25/2022 1:29:08 PM

Modified: 11/25/2022 1:28:58 PM

GREENFIELD — As part of its annual service project, Greenfield Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter has partnered with the Turners Falls nonprofit True Christmas to organize a toy drive. Donations will be collected until Dec. 16.

The GCC chapter of PTK, an international honor society of students attending two-year institutions, organizes a service project for its officers every year. Although PTK participation has dwindled, PTK advisor and English professor Trevor Kearns said he is excited to have a group of motivated, intelligent and compassionate officers.

“The pandemic was hard on our chapter,” Kearns said. “It was hard on GCC students who don’t have resources that traditional students have.”

For past service projects, PTK has organized a community closet, giving out free clothes to students; hosted bake sale fundraisers benefiting local food pantries; and organized similar toy drives.

PTK’s partner organization True Christmas is overseen by Turners Falls resident David Shea, who grew up in foster care and “never had a Christmas,” an experience that catalyzed a desire to bring children holiday joy. He started collecting toys to distribute to families in need in 2013, with the “True Christmas” moniker originating in 2014.

PTK has set up toy donation boxes around campus as well as at Greenfield Games, World Eye Bookshop and Charlene Manor Extended Care. Seth Lustig, owner of Greenfield Games, said he was thrilled to jump on board.

“(We’re) very happy to be a part of that,” Lustig said, noting that he plans to offer a 10% discount to any customer who buys an item to put into the toy donation box.

Additionally, PTK made a poster depicting a Christmas tree that is displayed at GCC. The poster has tags with gift suggestions from western Massachusetts children. Donors can take a tag off the tree, buy the associated gift and bring it to Kearns’ office in room N320. Donors are advised to include the tag so organizers know what gift goes to which child.

“I hope not only the college will benefit,” Kearns said, “but the community as well.”

With questions, contact Kearns at 413-775-1264 or [email protected]

Bella Levavi can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4579.

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