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Wed., Oct. 7
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Jefferson Elementary students provide desserts for Massena Neighborhood Center


MASSENA - Desserts and hands have been the buzz words lately at Jefferson Elementary School.

Students have pulled double-duty for the benefit of the Massena Neighborhood Center - collecting desserts for the center’s Christmas program and making hands that can be sold at local businesses for the center’s “Touch a Hand, Touch a Heart” program.

Teacher Joan Bulger said desserts were rounded up last week by members of the student government. But the whole school had a part, contributing desserts to collection boxes that were placed outside their rooms.

“(The student government) collected at the end of the day from all the classrooms,” Ms. Bulger said.

The dessert drive has become a holiday tradition at the school. Ms. Bulger said she had started it while teaching at the former Twin Rivers Elementary School, which closed its doors in 2000. Then she brought it to Jefferson, where they’ve been collecting desserts for the past 10 holiday seasons.

“We’re talking about giving, Thanksgiving and sharing, how there are so many children who don’t have anything,” she said.

The week after Thanksgiving is the designated time for bringing in the desserts, which are collected and stored safely away at the end of each day and then boxed up and delivered to the Massena Neighborhood Center at the end of the week.

Ms. Bulger said the desserts donated and collected by the students augment what the Neighborhood Center already has for their Christmas boxes. They’re asked to bring in non-perishable items like pie fillings and boxed goods.

“Everybody wants dessert items,” she said.

All the proceeds will be tucked in between the turkeys or hams, vegetables, stuffings and other items that comprise the Christmas food boxes distributed by the Massena Neighborhood Center to needy families in the communities.

In addition to the dessert drive, students throughout the school have also been participating in the “Touch a Hand, Touch a Heart” program for the past 12 years, Ms. Bulger said. The colorful hands they’ve made in Linda Nowak’s art class are distributed to local businesses and sold to customers as another Neighborhood Center fundraiser.

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