Carissa Canzona ’21 and Nicholas Busciglio ’21
The Passaic Valley community came together this holiday season to give back to those in need. The National Art Honors Society made their annual holiday cards and conducted their canned food drive, the Student Senate used their fundraising proceeds to help the First Reformed Church of Little Falls, and the Culinary Club gave back to a fellow student’s family.
The Culinary Club, advised by Culinary Arts Teacher Ms. Zuzana Geleta, provided a Thanksgiving dinner for a fellow student and their family. “During a Google Meet, I realized that one of my students was in the doctor’s office with his mom. After speaking to him, I found out that his mom was not doing well and he had to bring his mom to doctors and hospitals often. It was a few days before Thanksgiving,” said Ms. Geleta. “It touched me because the student joined the class and was helping his mom at the same time. I thought about, ‘What can I do? How can I help? First, I decided to roast a turkey for him myself and bring it to his house. Then, I asked my club for help.”
The club members dropped off food donations outside of school at the picnic tables, keeping social distancing a priority. “The student in need did not know about our effort; it was a surprise. I emailed him saying that I have something for him for Thanksgiving, since his mom is sick,” explained Ms. Geleta. “He was very touched and surprised when he saw the abundance of food on the picnic table at PV.”
Culinary Club President Jenna Anevski ’22 takes great pride in what the club was able to accomplish for a Hornet family in need. “It was a truly heartwarming and humbling experience and, as Culinary Club President, I am super proud of how quickly my fellow club members and I pulled together and helped someone in our Passaic Valley family,” Anevski said.
National Art Honors Society, advised by Art Teacher Ms. Carrie Ingraham, typically sell holiday cards every year during the Holiday Concert. This year, however, NAHS diverted from tradition to instead send their handmade holiday cards to senior citizens affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Everyone is going through really hard times right now and we wanted a way for this event to give back to the communities,” said Ms. Ingraham.
The members of NAHS were able to gather materials from school if they did not have them at home. Ms. Ingraham picked one senior community in each town so the members would be giving back to their communities directly.
The following homes are still accepting cards if you are looking for a way to help your community:
Mountain Ridge Condominiums
375 Rifle Camp Rd.
Woodland Park NJ 07424
St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly
140 Shepherd Lane
Totowa, NJ 07512-2188
Atrium Health & Senior Living
150 Clove Rd
Little Falls, NJ 07424
Student Senate, advised by Ms. Cheryl Grande, used money from their previous fundraising efforts to donate food to the food pantry at The First Reform Church in Little Falls. “We took $150 out of our own account and went to the grocery store with a list of desired foods. We were able to get everything on that list,” Ms. Grande explained, who accompanied Student Senate members Devyn DiPasquale ’21 and Betul Koc ’21 in grocery shopping. “The church was very grateful for the amount of food we were able to donate and effort Passaic Valley made to help.”
If you would also like to contribute to your community the First Reformed Church is always accepting donations:
First Reformed Church
61 Main Street Little Falls, New Jersey, 07424
Even though the holiday season came to an end, Passaic Valley’s giving spirit has not! The National Art Honors Society’s annual “Souper Bowl” canned food drive is happening right now. To contribute, bring any nonperishable food item to one of the drop-off locations at the school in the Main Office, the Teen Center, and the Security Desk outside the Gris Gym.