Starting every autumn, students at the Patrick Lyndon Pilot School in West Roxbury begin coming to their teachers, the principals, and the school nurse clutching Globe Santa envelopes filled with change. They may have cracked open their piggy banks or done chores for the nickels, dimes, and quarters, and they’re happy to give them away.
“That’s my favorite part, when you have the children handing in envelopes,” Lower School Principal Kathleen Tunney said. “It’s really special when they’re learning how to give back.”
This season’s Globe Santa efforts ended Thursday with a Christmas concert and the appearance of Globe Santa himself. School officials told Globe Santa executive director William Connolly that students, teachers, staff, families, and the PTA raised more than $3,000 for the program so that thousands of underprivileged Eastern Massachusetts children will get presents this Christmas.
But Tunney said the dollar figure isn’t how she measures success.
“No matter what the amount is that we raise, I just think it’s just teaching the kids how to give to people in need,” Tunney said, “and even for those families in need, for them to be able to accept this gift, that’s sometimes hard to do.”
The Lyndon School is not the only Globe Santa effort in the Boston Public Schools.
Last year, public school students and employees contributed $16,469, Connolly said.
Since 1961, when the schools first partnered with Globe Santa, their annual donations to the program have averaged about $10,000, meaning that the system has donated some $550,000 over that time.
“The BPS community steps up each year on behalf of Globe Santa and their generosity makes a difference,” said Connolly.
At the Lyndon, students participate in activities like Silly Hat Day and holiday concerts to raise money for Globe Santa. Tunney said the school has made “a really big celebration” of it for nearly a decade.
Cathryn Stein, a school nurse instrumental in the Globe Santa efforts, said Silly Hat Day — when students pay a dollar to wear a funny hat all day — is one of her favorite activities in the year.
“People have so many creative and funny things they wear,” she said. “Or maybe a Red Sox cap, which is also terrific – or even a Yankees cap!”
She said teachers are also strongly involved in the fund-raising and the entire school community comes together to make each year a success.
“It depends on a super supportive group of staff who collect money and pass it on, and give information to families about Globe Santa, which relies on a supportive administration,” Stein said. “ We have a very supportive parent base.”
Boston School Superintendent Tommy Chang praised the school system’s efforts.
“Whether it’s change from a student’s piggy bank or a check from a family or employee, thousands of members from the BPS community have long contributed to this worthy cause,” Chang said.
Last year, donors like Boston Public Schools students and employees gave Globe Santa more than $1 million. The Globe Santa effort, a program of the Boston Globe Foundation, provided gifts to 35,570 from nearly 20,000 families in Eastern Massachusetts.
Please consider giving by mail, telephone, or at globesanta.org.Martha Schick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org