MONTVILLE, NJ - Students and parents from Montville Township’s St. Pius X School provided materials to make 24 large Easter baskets, numerous smaller baskets, and a bin full of extras that were delivered to Paterson’s St. Joseph’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Department on Wednesday, April 12.

The project started about five years ago when Dr. Dennis Kuo, a former parishioner and parent of St. Pius’ student Cara Kuo, had the idea for the school children to do this act of kindness and asked former Principal Sister June Morrissey if it were possible. She readily agreed and set the ball rolling by asking Debbie Vigorito, school lunch manager, to be in charge. 

Thomas Welsh, St. Pius’ new principal, is keeping the tradition alive. He said that as a Catholic school, St. Pius teaches the Catholic faith, but experiences like this encourage the students to put their faith into action.

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He said, “We teach the students that it is important to love others and treat each other with respect. This is a way of doing just that and a way of bringing Easter joy to others. It is a way of putting our faith into practice in a way that our students can see the results.”

Vigorito put the beautiful baskets together and delivered them to the hospital. She said that each class was asked to bring in certain items for the baskets. Other classes were asked to donate money, so that she could go out and buy whatever else was needed. The baskets were made for children ranging from two years old and up.

“Students and parents are very generous,” said Vigorito.

Vigorito’s daughter Brianna, who goes to Morris County School of Technology, also got involved, and her school donated coloring books and crayons. Brianna also helped her mother put the baskets together.

Jackie Bain, school nurse, and Tricia Walters were also involved in the event, along with other volunteers from the school.

Shandra McCarter, child life specialist from St. Joseph’s Hospital, received the baskets for the children. Vigorito said that McCarter “was overjoyed.”

The baskets first will go to the children in the oncology department. The over flow of baskets then will go to children in other wards.

The students who helped with the loading of baskets and those who are pictured are: Bottom row from left: Tripp Baron, Antonia Ragucci, Matthew Barbarisi, and Valencia Polking. Middle row: Emma Walters, Giana DiPisa, Maddox Ferguson, McKenna Sluck, Giovanni DiFilippo, Daniela DiPisa, James Lobb, and Jonathan Arriola. Top row: Michael Jimenez, Sean Rizzo, Ava Ruderman, Samantha Sanchez, Anthony Salerno, Angelina Pierro, Junior Luciano, Francesca Gonzalez, Michael Danzi, and Lexy Krasnomowitz.