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St. F.X. students assisting toy drive

Scott MacInnis and Katelynn D'Albertanson made a recent visit to the Monsignor Hugh MacPherson Council of the Knights of Columbus toy drive 'toy house' at Antigonish Market. The second-year business students are part of Christmas Joy at St. F.X., an effort to have students make contributions to the annual effort. Corey LeBlanc
Scott MacInnis and Katelynn D'Albertanson made a recent visit to the Monsignor Hugh MacPherson Council of the Knights of Columbus toy drive 'toy house' at Antigonish Market. The second-year business students are part of Christmas Joy at St. F.X., an effort to have students make contributions to the annual effort. Corey LeBlanc - Corey LeBlanc

KOC effort in Antigonish continues until Christmas Eve

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

ANTIGONISH - Despite the hectic schedule that comes with writing Christmas exams, a group of St. F.X. students have made the time to learn a lesson about giving.
The group - as part of their volunteer work with the Schwartz School of Business Society - recently launched Christmas Joy, an effort to contribute to the annual Monsignor Hugh MacPherson Council of the Knights of Columbus toy drive in Antigonish.
During a recent visit to the 'toy house,' home base for the drive, which is located at Antigonish Market Square, two of the Xaverian elves, 
Katelynn D'Albertanson and Scott MacInnis, talked about their campus initiative.
Students Rob Gauthier, Emelie MacDonald and Adam Starr have also been part of the initiative.
"They were over the moon once they found out that we wanted to help give back to the community," MacInnis said.
The Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School graduate had experience pitching in and wanted to continue on that path.
MacInnis even borrowed the Christmas Joy name from the school effort.
"There was a great support system to help us find the connections to do this," MacInnis noted, crediting Laurie Shaw and other organizers at Regional for putting him in contact with Clarence Deyoung, who leads the Knight's drive.
"I really got quite engaged and I was really excited to do it," D'Albertanson said, noting she had been involved with toy drives during elementary and middle school in her hometown of Kelowna, B.C.
She came up with the idea "to bring it into the house residences."
They have come on board and started sponsoring families.
"We thought that it would get the student base a little more engaged than if we were just collecting change," D'Albertanson added.
As of Dec. 10, the Christmas Joy, St. F.X. style, had collected more than $1,100, which will help sponsor five families.
"The feedback, so far, has been quite overwhelming; everyone has wanted to help," MacInnis said.
The monies collected over only a three-week period are solely from St. F.X. students.
"I think it is really cool that the money is coming from students; it is not coming from the university which, I think, makes it more special for the families," D'Albertanson said.
MacInnis described his classmate as a "superstar," when it comes to delivering the message to campus residences.
"I just put my feelers out there and the response has been awesome," she said.
MacInnis added it's great to see students "giving back," both from the area and those who make Antigonish their home-away-from-home while attending St. F.X.
"It has been really special to have that type of small-town feeling," D'Albertanson, who has an Antigonish connection - her mother Lynn Ross grew up here, said,
The pair wish they could do more, including volunteer at the 'toy house,' but it is such as busy time of year for university students.
Nevertheless, they and some of their classmates have been able to do more than just hand over the collected monies.
"It was so much fun," D'Albertanson said, as MacInnis nodded, of having the chance to go shopping for toys for their families.
It is the eighth year the Knights have led the Antigonish toy drive, which includes contributions – financial and otherwise – from countless givers in the business and broader communities.
Last year, the campaign touched the lives of 162 families, including 344 children.
There are a variety of ways in which people can give, including the 'sponsor a family' option, which provides donors with a list of children (no names), ages and gift options.
Many workplaces, rather than having gift exchanges, pool their resources and donate to the initiative; a secret Santa for a worthy cause.
"We don't see why it can't grow into something bigger every year," MacInnis said of the Christmas Joy effort at St. F.X.
The ‘toy house’ is open daily, during Antigonish Market Square hours, until Christmas Eve.    
Along with the ‘toy house,’ there are toy and donation drop-off spots at East Coast Credit Union – both St. Andrews and Bergengren locations, Walmart and Atlantic Superstore.
For more information, including to make a donation or to access the services of the toy drive, call 902-867-2648.

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