For some students setting up a bake sale or a car wash to donate money to a charitable cause will do the job. In the case of Williamstown Middle School student Marina DiCristofaro, neither was hands on enough.
DiCristofaro, an eighth grader at WMS, is the incumbent public relations officer for the National Junior Honor Society. Part of her job as an officer of the club is to organize a service project of any kind. She came out swinging with the first event of the year.
After hearing about Bianca’s Kids, a Williamstown-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping less fortunate children, DiCristofaro decided to assist in their mission to help local children by collecting diapers, wipes and rash cream for less fortunate and/or foster babies.
“She was super nice,” DiCristofaro said of Debbie Savigliano, the founder of Bianca’s Kids. “We were thinking of ideas to do. They constantly have a need for diapers. I thought it was a good idea.”
The first step in DiCristofaro’s diaper drive was to meet with WMS Principal Dana Mericle, then create fliers to distribute. On back to school night she manned the NJHS table and handed out the fliers. During school days she would go from classroom to classroom to hand out fliers and explain her goal as well as making constant announcements on the morning news and creating Facebook posts. DiCristofaro organized a sign-up form online to keep track of the different items she was requesting. The diaper drive ran from Oct. 1 to 22.
At the conclusion of the drive DiCristofaro had Savigliano, case workers and Division of Youth and Family Services employees come out to collect the goods. She estimates roughly 40 containers of rash cream, more than 150 boxes of wipes and approximately 100 cases of diapers were collected over the 22-day span. The DiCristofaro family said it took roughly four trips from their home to empty the collected supplies.
“It felt amazing knowing I’m going to make a difference,” DiCristofaro said. “I didn’t expect that much; I didn’t know how successful it would be.”
To know her work is going to directly impact her home community made DiCristofaro feel even better.
“It’s a really nice feeling to know it’s going to people you’re surrounded by. People who are struggling are getting help,” she added. “It’s a feeling of pride. People are right next to you and you have no idea what they’re going through.”
“Nothing makes us happier than witnessing kids helping kids,” Savigliano said. “Introducing young lives to the importance of philanthropy is so important. Marina’s initiative will help so many foster babies. We are so grateful.”
Though DiCristofaro is in eighth grade and her time as an officer for the NJHS is coming to a close, the diaper drive is something she looks forward to continuing in the future.
“Definitely, it was a great experience,” she noted. “Now I know what I need to do. If I were to do it again next year, I’ll make sure it’s just as amazing. It was a wonderful experience.
“I didn’t expect anything like this to happen. I was so grateful for everyone who donated because that’s what made it all happen.”