Holiday Helper

Maggie Collins (left) chats with Sue Tormey at the annual Christmas Theme Basket Fundraiser at the Bistro.

Maggie Collins (left) chats with Sue Tormey at the annual Christmas Theme Basket Fundraiser at the Bistro.

Maggie Collins retired in April after 27 years at the College but the annual holiday fundraiser she started for children in need brought her back to campus. She was at the Bistro in the Gordon Student Center November 18 for the Christmas basket raffle to benefits K.I.D.S., which stands for kids in dire straits. Themed gift baskets created by College employees were raffled off with proceeds going to help children who are victims of neglect, abuse and poverty.

The fundraiser attracts a large crowd around lunch time.

The fundraiser attracts a large crowd around lunch time.

Collins history of devoting her spare time and energy to children goes back to the late 1990s. “I heard about the poverty in parts of Syracuse and couldn’t get it out of my mind. I contacted Sister Rose who was at the St. Lucy’s Food Pantry at the time  and she filled me in on what a great need there was for children and families. I knew there were poor people but not to the extent there was. I figured I had to do something.  I love kids and thought they are the innocents who are not getting their needs met.”

Collins teamed up with co-worker Carole Ciciarelli and got to work. They started by collecting pennies on campus along with returnable cans and bottles. The Christmas basket raffle was added. They organized “OCC Santa” events for children who needed warm clothes for the winter, did Murder Mystery fundraisers, donated teddy bears to abused children and put on holiday dinners. “Everything has just evolved,” said Collins. “We’ve been so fortunate to have the support of the entire OCC community throughout the years.”

If you are interested in contributing in any way you can email Maggie Collins at collinsm@sunyocc.edu.

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