The annual Christmas Miracle campaign is run almost exclusively by 18 students in the executive committee and 80 student volunteers. Photo courtesy of Luca Ciardullo

Hamilton's St. Thomas More holds annual campaign to support less fortunate

By  Emily Barber, Youth Speak News
  • December 16, 2016

Miracles are rare, but students at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton make them an annual event.

The school has been in the miracle business since the late 1980s when it established the Christmas Miracle gift-giving program that has helped hundreds of children in the Hamilton area.

Luca Ciardullo, one of the teacher organizers of the campaign, attributes the success of the Christmas Miracle to the character and dedication of the students.

“We, as teachers, are just facilitators. The students put a ton of hours into this,” he said. “Students know how much helping feels good.”

He said their “moral upbringing speaks volumes” in their zeal for this program. The program’s inspiration comes from a desire to practise the Catholic values preached at the school.

The Christmas Miracle gives students an opportunity to apply their desire to better those around them and build a sense of community at the same time.

Under the program, each class sponsors one child in need from the Hamilton area, who will receive a Christmas present, plus a winter hat and mittens.

Throughout the month of December, in-school fundraisers like photo booths, candy cane grams, and Apple Fritter and Hot Chocolate Day are held to help the effort and students make sure the word is spread through social media.

This year, funds are also being raised for the family of Justin Masotti, a local high school student who has a rare brain cancer and is being treated in Mexico.

The initiative was helped through a special “Coffee Knight” featuring live music with the vocal classes of St. Thomas More, at $5 per person. Students are also selling baked goods, hosting raffles and holding a silent art auction.

The spirt of giving is speeding beyond the school as well, with local businesses providing sponsorship.

One of the most generous is Citizen Kid, a toy store that has donated many hundreds of dollars worth of practical items like hats and mittens along with toys and crafts.

(Barber, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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