St. Luke’s Gives to Local Community

St. Luke’s Society organizes a toy drive for the local community every year. This year’s drive was held virtually.

Caroline Kenny-Burchfield

St. Luke’s Society organizes a toy drive for the local community every year. This year’s drive was held virtually.

Wood-burning and crystal-growing kits, bath bombs, and play sand dinosaurs were just a few of the items on registries for St. Luke’s annual toy drive. 

Every year, St. Luke’s Society organizes a toy drive for the local community. Usually, toys are collected and placed under a tree in the Dining Hall before being distributed. This year, St. Luke’s set up an Amazon registry which community members used to purchase 77 gifts for ten children in North Canaan.

St. Luke’s also set up boxes in each dormitory to collect winter clothing for families that are unable to afford cold-weather clothing. Jason Shan ’23, a board member of St. Luke’s Society, said, “Considering the impact [of] COVID-19 on the North Canaan community…providing [this] service is more valuable this year than ever. Our gifts, clothes, and donations really did make a huge difference.” 

Although St. Luke’s drives have ended, there are many other ways to volunteer and give to the community. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many residents of nearby retirement communities have not been able to see family members. Students and faculty can lift their spirits by writing them cards and letters through a pen pal program or by submitting messages and art to residents at Noble Horizons and GEER Village assisted living facilities.

St. Luke’s Zoom tutoring program also continues throughout the winter. Students may sign up to become tutors for local students or lead their own class for kids in nearby towns. Previously, students have led origami workshops, baking classes, debate lessons, and other activities.

Numerous local charities also need support during the holiday season. Some notable charities include: Operation Fuel, which helps pay utility bills for thousands of Connecticut residents; Community Mental Health Affiliates, which offers over 40 behavioral wellness and mental health programs in CT, including telehealth services; Housatonic Youth Services Bureau, which works to strengthen the emotional health of youth and their families; McCall Center for Behavioral Health, which provides substance abuse and mental health treatment; and The Little Guild, the only full-service animal shelter in Northwest CT. Details on donations and the websites for each charity are available below.

The holiday season is a time for joy and giving, and donating to local charities may be one way of bringing holiday cheer to all. Amelia Wang ’21, co-head of St. Luke’s, said, “Being at Hotchkiss is a privilege; we don’t need to worry about most basic needs such as staying warm during the winter or not being able to get a new set of stationary for school as a holiday gift. Giving back is incredibly important; it’s a way to stay connected with the ‘greater world’ and the community beyond our little Hotchkiss bubble.”

Those interested in helping with St. Luke’s programs can reach out to Amelia Wang ([email protected]) for the pen pal program or Margo Donohue ([email protected]) for Zoom tutoring.

Ways to donate to local charities are also listed below.

Operation Fuel: You can give online here or by texting OPFUEL to 44321.

Community Mental Health Affiliates: You can give online here.

Housatonic Youth Services Bureau: You can give online here.

McCall Center for Behavioral Health: Click here to donate.

The Little Guild: You can donate to them here.