Celebrating the Christmas season through community service


Ms. Rachel Zurheide

The children from the Carver Center visited Sacred Heart last holiday season.

During this holiday season, Sacred Heart Greenwich is continuing its tradition of supporting the children of the Head Start program at the Carver Center, as well as the families at Casa de Esperanza.  In previous years, the children visited the Sacred Heart campus and joined students and faculty in Christmas festivities and celebrations.  Although they will not be able to do so this year, the school is still working with both organizations to make a positive impact on communities in need.

Sacred Heart Upper School students donate gift cards to the families at Casa de Esperanza. Courtesy of casahope.org

The two groups that Sacred Heart works with both have families in their communities that are struggling during this Christmas season.  One of the charities, Casa de Esperanza, located in Yonkers, New York, provides job training, educational support, and childcare for women and children.  The multi-service organization provides a safe haven where all are welcome and treated with dignity and respect, according to scny.org.

Sacred Heart also partners with the Carver Center each year during the holiday season.  The Carver Center is a community learning center founded with the three principles of serving, educating, and empowering the residents of Port Chester, New York.  The non-profit organization works with people of all ages, from young children to adults, helping them to build better futures, according to carvercenter.org

In previous years, the children from the Carver Center visited Sacred Heart to receive gifts from Santa Claus.  COVID-19 regulations prevent the children from coming to campus this year, but the school community will still collect and deliver gifts December 15.

Mrs. Kerry Bader, Director of Upper School Social Justice and Service and Senior Seminar Service and Theology Teacher, explained the impact that the donations by the Sacred Heart Community will have on families who are reliant on the two charities during holidays.

Children from the Carver Center receive the gifts donated by the students in 2019.   Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide

“Both of these organizations assist women and children who have incomes below the poverty level,” Mrs. Bader said.  “One of the most significant ways that we see income inequality manifest itself is during the holidays.  The gifts that we are providing for the children at Carver Center may be the only toys that these children receive this Christmas as well as the gift cards that we are providing to the families at [Casa de Esperanza] will enable them to purchase a meal at Christmas and may augment their food supply throughout the year.”

The families Sacred Heart supports have suffered from both economic and health challenges this past year.  Sophomore Jenny Di Capua, Student Community Service Ambassador, gave her insight on the importance of gift giving, especially during the pandemic.

“Gift giving takes on a special significance this year because we are not able to gather with one another or even give a simple hug,” Jenny said.  “Through gift giving, we can create a special connection to others at a time we are all socially isolated.  This Christmas season, we are donating gifts of supermarket gift cards, toys, books, and clothing too worthy organizations like the Carver Center and Casa de Esperanza.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide