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‘Children to Children’ toy drive

Students at P.S. 22 in Flushing will be making a difference this holiday season by collecting items for sick and needy children in the community.
P.S. 22, the Thomas Jefferson School, joined with the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple of NY, also located in Flushing, to kick off “Children Helping Children: Lighting Up Our Community” toy and stationary drive on Thursday, November 18. This marks the third year they have teamed up for the program.
From now until December 16, the school and temple will be collecting items for sick children at New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ) and other area children in need. Gifts will also be sent overseas to families of military personnel.
NYHQ Director of Public Affairs Debra Cohen expressed her gratitude to the students. She said that the patients, families and those that work at the hospital get a big smile on their face when they see the gifts being delivered.
Once the items have been collected, the children will return to the temple to wrap everything before the gifts are delivered.
“As a mom of two young kids myself, I really believe that this event is something very important for the community,” said Assemblymember Grace Meng. “Anything that our community can do to help other children and families, especially during the holiday season, is even more important this year [because of the economy]. I think we’ll make many people happy by working together.”
About 20 students from P.S. 22’s student government will lead the efforts, although the entire school will be involved in the collection.
“I feel really honored to participate in a program [where] nobody says you’re too young to do this,” said fourth grader Natalia Soto. “It’s an honor to help the community in a way you never thought that you could have helped because you’re a kid.”
Fifth grader Charnjot Bhogal noted that the program is all about helping kids who don’t have much. Amanpreet Kaur, a fourth grader, said that she thinks it’s good to have the chance to help other people.
P.S. 22 teacher Rosemary Hamel said that this project gives the students the opportunity to become involved, gain leadership skills and learn how to be compassionate and caring while promoting volunteerism. School principal Priscilla Milito added that it also builds community awareness and teaches the children about the need to share what they have.
“I’m really proud of myself that I’m in this,” said fourth grader Michael Orman, who added that it’s good to help others.
Priya Bajwa, a fifth grade student, also was thankful for the change to help other children and said she thought they would be able to make others “really happy” through their work.
The students do many projects to give back throughout the school year. Recently they have been collecting for Penny Harvest. Members of the student government expected the school to respond with as much enthusiasm for “Children Helping Children” as they have for past projects.
“They’re very hardworking children,” Hamel said.
Donations can be dropped off through December 16 to P.S. 22 at 153-33 Sanford Avenue or at the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple of NY at 154-37 Barclay Avenue. For more information, call 718-939-8318.

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