Five years ago Canisius High School received a letter from the principal of Our Lady of Black Rock School in Buffalo asking for the support of the Canisius community on a project that would serve many in the elementary school's community. The Our Lady of Black Rock principal was looking to help many families who are facing financial poverty, many of whom came to Buffalo as refugees. Ms. Andrea Tyrpak-Endres, the principal at Canisius, found the project to be “absolutely perfect to bring our faculty, staff, and administration together in service” and immediately got Canisius involved. She took it upon herself to lead the effort, which continues today.
While the specifics of the project have evolved over time, for the past two years the project has invited the Canisius community to contribute “Christmas Boxes of Joy,” which are boxes that provide both necessities and fun gifts to families living in the Black Rock community. Each box, uniform in size, includes a few staples – such as a gift card to a grocery store, a blanket, and a reusable shopping bag — and leaves room for each donor to use their own discretion to provide additional helpful or fun items, like nail polish, work gloves, or coloring books. (The wrapped boxes are pictured above, stacked outside Principal Tyrpak-Endres' office.)
This year Canisius provided 47 packed boxes, a 20% increase in participation from last year! Because of such great generosity from the Canisius faculty, staff, and administration, every single family from the school that will attend the Black Rock Christmas pageant will walk away with a Box of Joy.
Ms. Tyrpak-Endres was so glad to see how the project grew in the Canisius community this year. Some teachers even invited their advisements or classrooms to work together to fill a box and others began shopping over the summer knowing this project was upcoming. With a smile Ms. Tyrpak-Endres notes, “It’s good to see how people really get involved in this. The community continues to bring in more and more. We hope it gets bigger and bigger and bigger, going beyond just our school!”
Canisius students loaded the Boxes of Joy for delivery to Our Lady of Black Rock School.