Dine to Donate Lets Hungry Hawks Give Back This Winter

Christmas is the time of giving, and SUNY New Paltz Dining Services is doing their part to give back this holiday season.

For the first time, SUNY New Paltz Dining Services is hosting “Decorate to Donate,” a holiday fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. 

By giving a $25 or $50 donation, participants are given supplies to decorate their own gingerbread house. The former price gets you a standard house, while the latter gets you a specialty house/building. 

The fundraiser came to be last year, when Chef-Senior James Pellegrini inquired about doing a fundraiser for the holiday season. 

“With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the spirit seems to get lost,” Pellegrini said. “It’s a time for giving and a time to help those children who should be looking forward to the season and not to their next radiation treatment.”

Pellegrini, along with coworker Matthew Hill got the ball rolling on the fundraiser, which kicked off early last month. Each day starting on Nov. 17, decorating sessions were held in the Student Union Building (SUB). Christmas music fills the air and finished houses line the walls as students, faculty and community members work on their creations. 

While most participants went for the classic gingerbread house look, some took their pieces to the next level. A few standout constructions include a model of the Atrium, as well as two houses dedicated to on-campus residence building Bliss Hall. 

St. Jude’s was chosen as the recipient of all funds raised. The hospital was founded in 1962, and is a leading provider of treatment of pediatric cancers. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude’s costs over $2 million a day to operate and patients are never charged for treatment. 

“St. Jude’s has been a destination for my family’s donation for quite some time now,” Pellegrini said. “They do a remarkable job for children and the families so it seemed only fitting that the donations go to them.”

As of Wednesday morning, the fundraiser has raised almost $500 for donation. The final decorating sessions will be held on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning beginning at 11 a.m. 

“It is our first attempt at this and I guess it could have been better,” Pellegrini said. “The participation is a little low, but we still have a few days left to go. I can only hope for a last minute surge.”

Once decorating is complete, all houses will be displayed in a Christmas village in the SUB on Monday, Dec. 3. After that houses will be available to take home the next day. 

If you are interested in donating, contact SUNY New Paltz Dining Services, or stop by the decorating sessions on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.