Jumpstart’s annual Baskets of Love program at Bridgewater State University will help many families this December.
“We jumped from 65 families to 75,” said Jeremy Floman, Jumpstart’s co-volunteer coordinator. “We also gained two new program partners this year.”
According to Floman, there are preschools in Brockton and Taunton that partner with Jumpstart.
Some of them include Brockton Day Nursery, Kiddie Haven, and Start Right Start Bright.
For Baskets of Love, the neediest families from each preschool are chosen for the program. The parents of the children write a wish list, and these are distributed to students and faculty who want to help and participate in the program.
Participants buy gifts for each child and drop them off at the Jumpstart office in the Burrill Office Complex. This way, children from low-income families will have Christmas presents and new toys this holiday season.
Over the years, the Baskets of Love program has grown. When the program started out, only Jumpstart members participated.
“The biggest change was getting students and faculty involved,” said Barbara George, an administrative assistant for the Institute of Social Justice. “The thing I’ve been amazed at is the generosity of the BSU community. As a staff member I’ve seen how generous the staff are.”
According to George, the best part about the program is it does not have to cost too much. Many groups on campus will “adopt” a family and each person in the group will buy one gift.
“You can just donate a toy or gift card,” George said. “It doesn’t have to be expensive.”.
George said one year she went to one of the schools while gifts were being delivered. One of the teachers started to cry and got very emotional when she saw the presents for the children.
According to Caitlyn Scudder, associate site manager for Jumpstart, the Jumpstart program was founded by a camp counselor for children in New York. He saw a difference between children from low-income families and children from families with an average income.
“He realized how far behind they were compared to their peers,” Scudder said.
Jumpstart originally started in Boston, but it is now a national non-profit early education organization. The goal of Jumpstart is to prepare children to succeed in school.
Jennifer Christensen is a Comment news writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.