“Particularly this time of year, what the Key Program prioritizes is getting at-risk teens … who are not in a stable situation, gift cards to places like Target or Walmart or other major retail chains,” said Augustinian Volunteer James Wroblewski. “The intention is: rather than having to worry about getting money for the holiday season, they can use the cards to buy food, clothing, gifts or anything they need.”
Wroblewski is collecting donations on Main Street in the Sakowich Campus Center until Thursday, Dec. 19. To make it easier for students and other donors, Campus Ministry is also accepting donations as low as $1 using the app Venmo with the address CampusMinistry_MC, to be used toward purchasing gift cards.
“There is no reason why financially insecure adolescents should be deprived of what they really want for Christmas, so a gift card gives them a chance to buy for themselves what they really want,” said the Rev. Ray Dlugos, O.S.A., the vice president of mission and ministry. “It’s just something that brings a little bit of joy into lives that otherwise don’t have that.”
The community was extremely generous this semester during the Thanksgiving Basket Drive and then with the Toy Drive, Fr. Ray said.
“That’s the great thing about Merrimack,” Wroblewski said. “When presented the opportunity, students are ready and willing to engage.”
Campus Ministry is hoping to surpass last year’s collection of 46 gift cards, Wroblewski said. Ideally, donors would be able to give $20 or $25 gift cards but any monetary donation is greatly appreciated and will be used toward buying more cards, he said.