By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Shrewsbury – When Latasha Hughes heard last December that heartless thieves had stolen thousands of gifts that were donated to the St. Anne's Church Giving Tree program, she, like so many others, was saddened.
“I drive by there all the time so I was floored when I heard the news,” Hughes, the admissions coordinator at Shrewsbury Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (SNRC) recalled. “I just thought of all the shattered dreams – not just for the kids but also the St. Anne's volunteers, who worked so hard. I knew they must be devastated.”
That feeling of sadness lingered with her throughout the year so much that she was inspired to initiate a drive at SNRC to benefit this year's Giving Tree.
“Each July we start thinking of end of year events – we always do some sort of community event,” she said of the SNRC administrators. “I thought [donating to the Giving Tree] would be a great way to give back.”
In September she and Barbara Allen, SNRC director of admissions, met with Elaine LeBlanc, the human resources director at St. Anne's, and Kerry Barbour, the Giving Tree coordinator.
“They told us that many times there are not a lot of donations for teens or families in general, so we came up with the concept that our drive would be geared toward gift cards that could be given to parents,” she said. “They could then go out and purchase specific things they know their teens would like.”
“It's always better to give something that is needed and parents would know what items those were. There might also be cultural specifics,” she added. “Plus, it helps parents feel good, too, because the gift comes from them.”
Hughes is inviting members of the community to donate to SNRC's efforts by purchasing gift cards and dropping them off at the reception desk at SNRC's 40 Julio Drive location.
Gift card suggestions include places such as Target, Walmart, and local supermarkets.
The donations will then be given to LeBlanc and Barbour at a special reception Wednesday, Dec. 4. The women will also be sharing stories of how the program has helped so many families over the years.
For more information, contact Hughes at 508-845-6786.