It was a season of giving for Bay Path as both undergraduate and graduate students rallied their peers, faculty members, and members of the Bay Path staff together, all in the name of giving back. During the months of November and December, students collected food, money, books, clothing, and holiday gifts for seven community organizations.
Here’s how Bay Path students made a difference this holiday season, giving back to a community that many of them are happy to call home:
Partner: Christina’s House
On November 24th Bay Path students and staff kicked off the holiday season with Christina’s House, a local women's shelter that provides transitional housing for women and their children, but more importantly, offers and provides education and emotional, spiritual, and physical support as they transition from homelessness to permanent, stable living environments.
Student volunteers helped to chop, mix, bake, and cook a meal for the families of the home. The menu was extensive, but the show stopper was the 24-pound turkey, which took five people to carve! Everyone in attendance danced to music, played games, and during the meal took a moment to share what they were thankful for. The evening concluded with a special performance performed by the children of the home.
Thanksgiving Food Distribution
Partner: The Gray House, Inc.
Students in the Physician Assistant Studies program collected and delivered food to help The Gray House, Inc., a nonprofit human service agency in the North End of Springfield, distribute turkeys and Thanksgiving meal fixings to 712 families in the Springfield area.
This is the second year that Bay Path students have organized a food drive for The Gray House, and the collected items – including five turkeys - were delivered a few weeks before Thanksgiving.
The Giving Tree Gift Drive
Family Partners: Alice B. Beal Elementary School, German Gerena Community School
Students, faculty, and staff each chose a present from the Christmas tree, but instead of receiving the gift, they were choosing a gift to give to a family in need. Students in Bay Path’s Education Club sponsored two local families from the Springfield area in hopes of providing them with a little extra joy this holiday season. One family, having recently arrived to the United States, has seven children between the ages of 6-15, and the other family has two children, both with autism, between the ages of 7 and 9.
Partner: Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School
13 students from Dr. John Jarvis’ WELL in Practice class dedicated their time to executing a food drive initiative to support the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, a high school in Chicopee, Massachusetts where a majority of the student population is socioeconomically challenged, many coming from families who live below the poverty line and 100% of students are eligible for a free lunch.
Beating their goal of 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food times and the record of how much had been collected in previous years, the students collected 1,148.5 pounds of food, and $680 to be used towards the purchase of fresh turkeys and pork shoulders.
Partner: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Bay Path’s Social Problems class, taught by Dr. Diane Hall, conducted a book drive to benefit the Hampden County Correctional Center's library in Ludlow. Over 500 books appropriate for adult incarcerated males were collected, sorted, and donated in an effort to stock their library and to impact someone going through a hard time and working on making a better life for themselves.
As part of the forensic psychology major, students may participate in a book club with adjudicated incarcerated male youth at the CHD Community Adolescent Treatment program, a Department of Youth Services funded juvenile justice program as part of their service-learning required coursework.
Partner: Baystate Hospital
Students in Bay Path’s Physician Assistant Studies and Occupational Therapy programs collected 20 large bags of clothing and shoes to be donated to Baystate’s inpatient adult psychiatric treatment unit (APTU) and emergency department. While two PA students were completing a rotation in Baystate’s APTU, they saw a need for readily available and seasonally appropriate clothing that patients could wear upon release or during their time in the program.
While the collected clothing will serve a practical need, the students also hope that it aids in patients’ healing process. “It helps with healing to wear normal attire rather than a hospital gown,” shared PA student and clothing drive co-coordinator Brittany Weilandt. “It reminds patients that the unit can be a stepping stone to treatment and healing rather than just a stay at a hospital.”