The holidays will be brighter for many families thanks to the charitable efforts of school communities — both-person and virtual — across Long Island.
In Manhasset, more than 200 new and gently used winter coats were collected as part of a drive coordinated by the student nonprofit Global Mental Health Community Network and the secondary school's Green Club, Key Club and National Honor Society. The coats were handed out to individuals facing homelessness in Manhattan during a giveaway hosted by the nonprofit Sidewalk Samaritan.
"Not having a warm coat and food is something that can bring on a lot of mental stress, and we are trying to alleviate that," Manhasset juniors Eva Kosciusko and Sophia Stefanakis, who spearheaded the drive, said in a statement.
In Lynbrook, the high school's National Art Honor Society raised $840 through an online art auction of fall-themed paintings created by 18 members. Bidding for each piece started at $15 — with some selling for more than $100 — and the funds were used to purchase Target gift cards for families in need.
In Jericho, the middle school's eighth-grade community service classes sponsored a toy drive in which students and staff were asked to donate unwrapped gifts for children in need through the John Theissen Children's Foundation.
In North Merrick, the district's three elementary schools stationed collection boxes outside their buildings as part a toy drive sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Merrick.
Tables and chairs
The Hempstead School District has received a donation of 46 tables and 158 chairs from Adelphi University, which completed a renovation and expansion of the building that hosts its primary dining facility. The tables and chairs come from a temporary dining hall constructed on the campus last year.
In addition, the university's dining services provider, Chartwells, has donated kitchenware to the district.
"The school district greatly appreciates Adelphi's donation to our school community," Hempstead spokeswoman Ana Lovasz said. "Please know that chairs and tables are being used by students at Hempstead High School, Barack Obama and Front Street elementary schools. Students and administrators are very thankful."
Francesco Ianni has been appointed superintendent of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District, effective Jan. 1. He will replace Laura Seinfeld, who is retiring.
Ianni, who began his career as a high school math teacher, has served the past four years as superintendent of the Harborfields School District.
"I want to thank the Board of Education for its confidence in me to lead the district into new levels of performance," Ianni said. "I look forward to getting to know the faculty, the staff and students, and the culture of the district, so we can have a seamless transition and continue on a solid path of excellence."
The Middle Country and Sewanhaka school districts have been awarded $5,000 Hometown Grants from the New York Jets through the in-school health and wellness program, Fuel Up to Play 60.
The program, a partnership between local dairy farmers and the National Football League, encourages students to eat nutritious meals — including dairy — and exercise for 60 minutes daily. The grants will enable the districts to purchase "Grab N' Go" breakfast kiosks for students to pick up meals while learning remotely or in school.
"The grant allows us to purchase new equipment, which will enable us to expand our meal variety and offerings," said Kelly Friend, the chief operating officer of Whitsons Culinary Group, which provides meals to both school districts. "Unfortunately, with so many COVID-19 school closures this past year we have been preparing so many meals for students that are virtually learning, and storage has been at a premium. In addition, we needed kiosks to be able to promote social distancing and prepare to serve breakfast and lunch meals in many different areas of each school building for in-person student learners."