HFCS Staff Collaborates with Saint Gobain and Town of Hoosick Lions Club to Help Bring Holiday Joy to Local Children
Staff at Hoosick Falls Central School (HFCS), employees from Saint- Gobain, and members of the Town of Hoosick Lion’s Club have joined together to provide holiday gifts for more than 125 children.
Lori Burdo and Tiffany Stratton, kindergarten teachers at HFCS, spearheaded the toy drive. The idea started when the two were discussing the holidays and how some of the families within the HFCS community may struggle with buying gifts for their children. That discussion evolved into a community collaboration that has resulted in a classroom so filled with toys and other gifts, you need to make a path to walk through it.
“Our National Honor Society students have a Christmas Wish program that they do every year, raising money and collecting and buying clothes and other gifts for families in the Hoosick area,” stated Burdo. “We initially thought we would just add to what they collected.”
“We then put the word out to staff and asked if there were other families who might need a little holiday help,” said Tiffany Stratton. “As it turns out, we ended up with a list of more than 125 children.”
Soon after, Tiffany Stratton was discussing the toy drive with her husband, Tim, who works at Saint-Gobain in Hoosick Falls.
“He appreciated what we were doing and felt like they could help too.”
“I work with some really great people,” said Tim Stratton, “who are always looking to help others. Several of them jumped at the chance to help organize things and spread the word to our 170 employees. It turned into a real grassroots effort of neighbors helping neighbors.”
And help they did. Representatives from Saint-Gobain came to the school last week to give Burdo and Tiffany Stratton more than 150 toys and a sum of money to buy more items.
“We all felt really good about being able to help people right here in the Hoosick area,” said Tim Stratton. “Many of us didn’t realize the depth of the need in our own community. We’re already thinking ahead to what we can do next year.”
Tim Stratton also is a member of the local Lions Club, a group with a long history of aiding others in the community, especially children.
“We were having a meeting, discussing how we could help others this holiday season,” said Bill Gaillard, president of the Town of Hoosick’s Lions Club. “I mentioned the desire for a local opportunity and Tim spoke about the toy drive his wife was helping organize at the school. We knew it was the right thing for us to do.”
The Lions Club presented Tiffany Stratton and Burdo with additional money to use for buying toys and gifts.
“We are truly amazed at how this community so quickly answered the call for help,” said Burdo while sorting the hundreds of gifts along with jewelry donated by Crystal Orton, Burdo’s friend and owner of Chunkjewels in Stillwater.
“We’ve been able to collect and buy gifts for children ages infant to 19 years old. We are overjoyed with the response and can’t wait to deliver everything. This really is what the holiday season is all about.”