SUNY Broome was extra festive on December 9, 2021 as the campus community joined together to host the 25th Annual Giving of the Toys celebration. This special event brings together hundreds of students and staff to celebrate the holiday season by donating books and toys to the children of our region.
In honor of the Giving of the Toys’ 25th anniversary, a special committee was formed to coordinate the event. The “GOTT” committee included:
- Justine Dadamio: Special Events Coordinator
- Daisia Farley: Student Intern
- Marie Finelli: Public Safety Investigator/Training Coordinator/Resource and Compliance/Deputy Title IX Coordinator
- Tadd Kruse: Interim Associate Vice President and Dean of Students/Interim Title IX Coordinator
- Chris Novitsky: Director of Ice Center
- Kelly Casey Page: Athletics Secretary
- Dr. Carol Ross-Scott: Vice President for Student Development & Chief Diversity Officer
- Danielle Tierno: Sponsored Programs
Kelly Casey Page was honored to be included in the committee. “I have been part of this event since 2005. At the time, I was working in the Student Activities office under Director, Dave Maslar. The College used to host a “Breakfast with Santa” event, but Maslar and then VP, Charles Quagliata, converted that breakfast into the “Giving of the Toys.” They wanted to create an opportunity for the campus to gather during the common hour to celebrate. Their instinct was right, because this event has remained a campus favorite for so many for twenty-five years. It’s definitely my favorite event of the year,” said Page.
Vice President for Student Development & Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Carol Ross-Scott and Marie Finelli of Public Safety, co-emceed the event with the help of our very special guest, Santa Claus.
For Marie Finelli, the Giving of the Toys event is one that has always been close to her heart. “I came from a large family that sometimes struggled to make ends meet. I remember going with my parents to sign up to be a recipient of the toys. My parents relied on the Toys for Tots program to make our Christmas special. Then, when I was a young mom, I also signed my daughter up to receive Toys for Tots. When I was a student here in 1997, I was Student Senator and volunteered to be an “elf” and collect toys during the event. I’ve remained a Toys for Tots elf throughout my professional career at SUNY Broome. As parents, we worry about so much. Through this program, we can help parents to not have to worry about what Christmas morning in their home will look like. I love that I can help keep the Christmas magic alive for some of the families in our community,” said Finelli.
More than 60 offices, departments, clubs, athletic teams, and campus organizations donated toys to Santa that then will be donated to Broome County’s Toys for Tots initiative. Steven Fetterman of SUNY Broome’s Admissions Office, represented his team at the celebration. “Today is a very busy day in Admissions. We have a large group of prospective students visiting campus, so I am the representative for our office here today. This is by far one of the best events of the year and I try not to miss it. I love that the campus comes together to give back to the kids of Broome County. These children are the future of our community, as well as the future of SUNY Broome, and I can’t think of a better way to show our support,” shared Fetterman.
SUNY Broome Alumni Christopher Marshall of the Binghamton Police Department and Timothy McQuade of the New York State Police, collected the donations from the Giving of the Toys event to distribute to families who visit the Broome County Toys for Tots drive. Broome County’s Toys for Tots program has been facilitated by the Binghamton Police Department since 1962.
Both men agreed that volunteering with Toys for Tots is one of the highlights of their holiday season. “It’s just a great organization. We collect toys for children between the ages of one and ten and prepare them for their parents to give on Christmas morning. We see the need everyday and never turn a family away. We are just happy to be there to help and to connect with the families of our community,” said Marshall.
SUNY Broome’s youngest students, the children of the B.C. Center, attended the event dressed in their holiday best. The three to five year old class made their way to the center of the gym to personally present Dr. Ross-Scott, Marie, Santa, and his helpers with their donations.
Guests snacked on gourmet donuts and hot chocolate while they listened to Christmas classics and visited with fellow students and colleagues. In addition to the presentation of the toys, there was an “Ugly Sweater” contest, a performance of the “Winter Medley” by SUNY Broome’s Chamber Singers, and a demonstration from the ASL Club.
If you were unable to attend SUNY Broome’s Giving of the Toys celebration and still want to support Broome County’s Toys for Tots, you can stop by any local police agency with your donation or stop by Broome County’s Toys for Tots headquarters in the Oakdale Mall. Donations will be accepted until December 20, 2021.