SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic’s annual Christmas Drive is underway as students, faculty and staff are joining forces to help those who are less fortunate in another great display of the school’s Social Justice initiative.

Union Catholic faculty members Samantha Scutieri, Michelle Goworek, and Susan McLaughlin are the coordinators of the Christmas Drive, which is divided into two parts. The first part of the program is faculty based and it involves donating specific items to a group of 30 senior citizens from St. Joseph's Social Services in Elizabeth. The items include an outfit they can wear for the holiday and a toiletry item such as a scented bath wash, perfume or a shaving kit, etc.

The second part of the Christmas Drive program is student-driven, which features a mix of students from each grade who are chosen to serve as Christmas elves. The student/elves go around to classrooms each day seeking specific items needed or requested by families, who were chosen by the Catholic Charities in Cranford. The families are often in desperate need of warm clothing, coats, boots, but the school will also try to provide, especially the children, with at least one toy to unwrap.

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There is also a “Giving Tree’’ in Ms. Scutieri’s classroom where anyone can select a paper ornament that has a name with requested donation items listed, which must be returned unwrapped by Dec. 11.

Ms. Scutieri said coordinating the Christmas Drive is very rewarding and offers another great example of Union Catholic’s community coming together to help those in need.

“We are helping our outside community, but we are also working together as a Union Catholic community of students and faculty to accomplish this goal,’’ said Ms. Scutieri. “We get thank you cards back from families, and always nice to see that it really meant something to them and gave them the opportunity to have a happy holiday with their family. It’s a lot of work and it’s also of fun, and the kids really enjoy themselves.’’

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