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West Seneca East Senior High School students give back, inspire others

Dec 31, 2015 | In the News

This Christmas was a memorable one for Michael Anderson, a senior at West Seneca East Senior High School. When asked what he wanted for Christmas, he realized he had everything he could need and asked his mother and grandmother if they could try something new this year.

Anderson asked if they could take the money they intended to spend on him and purchase items to create care packages for homeless people living downtown. The teen said his inspiration came from seeing videos online of people doing good deeds for others.

“I thought it would be a good idea for Christmas,” he said. “I have everything I want. Why can’t people have the same? I want to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Each care package included a blanket, hat, gloves, scarf, comb, deodorant, socks, foot warmers, hand warmers and a granola bar. Some of his teachers heard of his plan and donated money and gift cards to Anderson. He used the money to add gift cards to McDonald’s to each package.

On Christmas Eve, Anderson went downtown to hand out his care packages, along with some doughnuts in the morning and pizza in the evening. He enjoyed getting to know the men and women he met, including some homeless veterans.

“They don’t have much so something like this may mean the world to them,” Anderson said. “Everyone has been saying I’m a superstar at school but I’m just trying to make a change, slowly but surely.”

Carly CroninBut he’s not the only senior at East who wanted to make a difference. For two years, Carly Cronin has been creating birthday boxes for the Response to Love Center, located on the East Side of Buffalo. She was inspired to help this organization after her brother donated backpacks to them for a Boy Scout project.

Cronin has filled over 125 boxes with items such as stuffed animals, hair accessories, coloring books, balls, toys, perfume, wallets, purses and more for boys and girls ages 2 to 13. When a child’s birthday is coming up, their parent can go to the center and ask for a birthday box, with each box consisting of about six items. Though the boxes are pre-packaged, the parents have the opportunity to swap out items to make sure the box fits the child’s personality.

Cronin also held a coat drive in December for children and adults at Harvest House.

“I wanted to do it because some parents don’t have the opportunity to give kids a gift,” Cronin said. “This gives them the opportunity to say, ‘Look! This is what I picked out for you.’ It’s the littlest things that matter.”

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