The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns Partner with Gullotta House to Spread Holiday Joy to the Community
The Washington Irving (WI) School Student Government and the Sleepy Hollow High School (SHHS) Football Team spread holiday cheer to hundreds of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow residents in partnership with Gullotta House for its annual Toy Drive.
From dinosaurs to crafts to guitars to dolls, each family was able to pick out one toy per child and even take a picture with Santa. Several hundred toys were collected at WI and then distributed by staff and SHHS football players. Attendees were also able to leave with a hot meal, as 500 meals were donated by JP Doyle's, Hudson Anchor, Santorini, Restaurant El Troncaleno and Tarry Tavern. Clothing was available for those in need.
WI 4th grade teachers Jamie Stasiuk and Viola Santeli organized the school’s contribution to and participation in the Toy Drive, the second year they have done so. “We really want our WI students to learn at a young age how they can make a difference in their community. Not only have they learned how to organize and promote a toy drive, but they have worked so hard to give back to other children in need of toys this holiday season, which has been such a wonderful experience for all, “ said Ms. Stasiuk and Ms. Santelia.
One young boy who chose to receive a guitar said that his dad plays guitar and that he hopes to be a singer when he grows up so he’d like to learn the skills to play guitar.”I would like for people to know that they can get what they want for Christmas,” he added.
SHHS student and football player Tyler Valenti said, “My experience is that when I see these little kids' faces and they are hyped and have a bright moment getting a toy, it’s very heartwarming to me. I’m giving strangers a toy that they might not have and you see how happy they are. It’s awesome to be out here doing this with my team and community.”
Mike Gullotta, who now serves as President of Gullotta House, which his parents created, explained that his family lost everything in a fire right here in Tarrytown when he was young. Thirty years later, he is dedicated to working with the community to give back to those in need. “Growing up in this community meant a lot to me and we have the opportunity to give everyone a truly awesome Christmas,” said Mr. Gullotta. “Thank you to the community for coming together to make this such a special holiday season.”