JFK students collect for children

Anthony Ross, 16, of JFK, left, and Dominic Malvasi, 15, a JFK sophomore, gets assistance sorting near 100 boxes at Operation Christmas child jn Howland.

HOWLAND — About 100 shoeboxes filled with toys, stuffed animals, school supplies and hard candy were delivered Friday by John F. Kennedy Upper Campus students hoping to help make the holidays more special for children worldwide.

High school sophomores Dominic Malvasi, 15, and Anthony Ross, 16, organized an effort at their school and in one week collected the shoeboxes, which were delivered to the Operation Christmas Child drop-off site in Howland.

Operation Christmas Child is a program of Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, which gets toys and other items to children in the United States and other countries of the world.

With temperatures reaching 72 degrees Friday, Ross and Malvasi had no problem unloading the shoeboxes into a large cart in the parking lot with help of other students and parents.

The two students said that when they heard of the program, they wanted to do something.

Ross’ mom, Kim, of Howland, met her son and the others at the drop-off site to help.

”This is an amazing program. You fill the shoeboxes with toys, gloves, stickers,  crayons and, other items for one of three different age groups. We chose the boys and girls age 10 to 14 years-old to buy for,” she said.

Laura York, local Operation Christmas Child coordinator, said this is the 15th year for the local effort, with a goal of 19,001 boxes. As of Friday, there were more than 11,000 boxes that have been collected over northeast Ohio.

She said that in the past 15 years, 150,000 shoeboxes have been collected.

”We collect and do all this in one week before Thanksgiving. It has been very busy. We will be busy through Monday,” York said.

Pam Malvasi of Howland said her son, Dominic, heard from a family friend who works for the U.S. Army in Cleveland asking if a local effort could take place to help the children.

”He asked my son and his friends to head up the effort at their school for this area. Once the students found out about it, they wanted to get involved,” she said.

Dominic Malvasi said the majority of the shoeboxes were brought to school on Friday.

”We weren’t expecting all these. Anthony and I went to the principal with the idea to do something to help the community,” he said.

Anthony Ross said they made fliers at school that were  given to each homeroom teacher to help publicize the effort with the students.

”We told them to fill them with items for children in need.There was a list of items they could select,” he said.

”It was so great the students gave back to others,” said Pam Malvasi.