The Reason for the Season – Giving Back
Books about polar bears. Pink pants in size 6X. A warm down-filled coat. These are just a few items on a long list of gifts that generous National Grid employees delivered to the children at the neighboring Lillian Feinstein Elementary School in Providence a week before Christmas.
More than fifty National Grid workers shopped, wrapped and trekked up to the second floor of the Melrose Street building. Their arms were filled with giftbags in a rainbow of colors. Dolls, balls, books and shoes spilled from boxes crammed with presents.
“You guys have been blessing our school with this for years, and after I get all the gifts in and look at them I usually start to cry that there are still amazing people out there,” said Donna Marcaccio, a fifth-grade teacher at the school.
“I love what you guys do for our kids,” Marcaccio said. For the past five years, National Grid has been lending a helping hand to the hundreds of children that attend the school on Sackett Street.
“This partnership affords us an opportunity to reach families at a crucial time of the year,” she said. “I know that gifts are not what Christmas, or the holidays are about, but when you’re a kid and your friends are getting things and you come to school and you to have say you received nothing, or we can’t afford things that can sometimes be a tough topic to maneuver,” said Marcaccio.
“We try to partner with the local schools as part of our outreach,” said Marisa Albanese. She came up with the idea of giving to the neighboring school years ago. Albanese is a Principal Program Manager in the Community & Customer Management team.
“Thanks to the efforts led by Marisa and the generosity of other National Grid employees, we were able to provide gifts to more than fifty students this year,” said Brian Schuster, who is the Director of the Community & Customer Management team. “We help the community in many ways throughout the year, but at this time of year, there is not better feeling knowing there will be more smiles in the children who learn and play in the school across the street from our office,” said Schuster.
A 7-year-old will be receiving a new pair of warm gray boots, sneakers streaked with rainbows and stars, jeans and a pink pullover. That’s thanks to Ryan Cote, he’s a Senior Program Manager of Electric Transportation with National Grid. Cote and his wife, who are expecting their second child in April, feel it’s important to give back. Especially at this time of year.
“I just think that I’ve been very fortunate and had a good upbringing and I want to help others,” Cote said. When Cote rounded the corner to the second floor of Melrose Street and saw the piles and stacks of presents surrounding Albanese’s desk, his heart lifted. “It was a really successful program, I just saw a ton of gifts.”
For a five-year-old who attends the school, he’ll be receiving Hot Wheels, Paw Patrol books and fuzzy snow boots, plus a fleece Nike tracksuit. Valerie Chase, who works in the Community and Customer Management Team as the Community Coordinator, is always happy to find an excuse for helping kids. “It feels good, it’s the right thing to do,” Chase said.