The holiday season is a time for communities to come together. For Erie Community College's community, it's a time to lift up fellow students pursuing a better future one class at a time.
In a drive that was extended because of November's "Winter Storm Knife," ECC administration, faculty and students collaborated with the college's board of trustees to collect and package offerings throughout their three campuses for their annual President's Holiday Food Drive, which culminated at Williamsville's north campus Dec. 12. The student-led collection of nonperishable food items and/or gift cards - which is now in its seventh year - will aid more than 135 families within the college's community, comprised of working students and their families who need an extra hand this holiday season.
ECC President Jack Quinn and his staff have organized these efforts every year since he arrived at ECC in 2008. Quinn said it's an effort that's indicative of the altruism evident throughout the community college's campuses.
"This drive is a true reflection of the holiday hearts within our hallways," he said. "We have our entire ECC family joining to give what they can to help our students. That's school spirit, and it's alive and well around here all year - but especially at this time of year."
Donations have been forthcoming since before Thanksgiving. The final offerings collected at north campus - which consisted of more than 35 gift cards and enough food donations to fill more than 100 holiday care packages - will be distributed to families through ECC's student services office before Christmas.
Since 2010, ECC's student government association has teamed a separate toy drive with the president's office drive to form a collective initiative even more able to aid ECC students fraught with economic hardships.
"The selfless nature of our college's community has never ceased to amaze me," Quinn said. "I'm not only thankful, but humbled to be a part of it."