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Rivier University’s third annual Toy Drive benefitting Nashua PAL begins

Inspired and driven by Rivier students, the annual Toy Drive for Nashua PAL children reaches out to the Rivier and local communities for support.

Rivier University students have launched the 2020 Nashua PAL Toy Drive to support Greater Nashua children this Christmas and holiday season. Toys and cash donations will be collected from December 1–12 and provided to the organization for distribution to local families.

Nashua PAL (Police Athletic League) serves more than 2,000 youth in Greater Nashua with educational, leadership, and activity programs. PAL is a longstanding Rivier community partner; Rivier University students perform internships and volunteer to mentor the children in PAL’s programs each year.

The Toy Drive began in 2018 with one gift-wrapped toy collection box in Rivier’s student center. Rivier student and Nashua PAL intern Sam Holdsworth ’19 partnered with his classmate and friend Cam Holdsworth ’20 (no relation) to create the fundraiser in support of children participating in PAL’s Youth Safe Haven Afterschool Program. They enlisted fellow soccer team players and classmates to help with the project. Successful beyond their dreams in 2018, Cam Holdsworth led the 2019 Toy Drive and extended its reach by garnering support from local schools and businesses. In total, the project raised more than $2,000 in monetary donations and double the previous years’ toy donations.

Rivier’s Campus Ministry Club has taken leadership of the project moving forward; the Club has a service focus on campus and in the community. Club President Vinnie Swierk is leading this year’s effort.

“This year we are striving for even more toys, as well as to reach our fundraising goal of more than $3,000,” says Swierk. “We are working with Bishop Guertin High School and One Stop Liquors again this year, and we have created new relationships with Walmart (Salem, NH) and Just 4 Change Non-Profit to receive monetary grants. We’re looking forward to celebrating another successful year.”

This year’s drive offers several ways to donate. In addition to the toy drop-off boxes located across campus, the Toy Drive now has a fundraising webpage for cash donations, as well as an Amazon Wish List, where toys can be purchased and sent directly to the University for the Toy Drive.

“This student-initiated and -led project truly exemplifies the University’s mission—transforming hearts and minds to serve the world,” shares Anna Molettieri, Director of Campus Ministry. “To witness the students’ leadership, dedication, and generosity is heartening. As future leaders, they are truly inspiring.”

Donations will be delivered to Nashua PAL on December 15. All are encouraged to donate through the fundraising webpage or Amazon Wish List, or to deposit unwrapped toys in the collection boxes at the Dion Center on Rivier’s campus by December 12.