Community Contributes to Successful Gallagher Charitable Society Christmas Party

December 12, 2013

On Saturday, December 7, Saint Joseph's College's Gallagher Charitable Society (GCS) hosted its 36th annual Christmas party for underprivileged children and their families. Roughly 300 people attended the event, including 200 children who received a coat, hat, gloves, and book, as well as a new toy from Santa and a used toy. All in attendance enjoyed a hot breakfast before Santa arrived to take photos with the children.

The SJC baseball team and its head coach, Rick O'Dette ’99, joined faculty advisor Fr. William Stang, C.PP.S. ’72 and other volunteers to put on the event. Players and coaches worked as Santa's elves, coordinating games and activities and handing out books, toys, and food baskets.

O’Dette wishes to thank the people and businesses who offered support for the event. Members of the community contributed through the sixth annual Run/Walk for Warmth drive, spearheaded by Mindy Beier ’96 and the Rensselaer Rotary Club and held at 24/7 Club Fit in Rensselaer. The drive raised money for coats, hats, and gloves. Hillcrest Dental of Rensselaer donated toothbrushes, Rensselaer schools held food drives, Dale’s Steak & Chop Shop provided reduced-cost ham, and Faithful Stewards Food Pantry of Wolcott, Ind. provided food items. At SJC, 465 students donated one of their meals to help fund the brunch for those in attendance, and Sodexo, the College’s dining services provider, helped offset the cost of the brunch.

O’Dette also wishes to thank the following people: Jeff Strack of Strack & Van Til, which donated $200 in gift cards to the store so that food could be purchased for food baskets; Mike Van Eekeren ’85 of Vanee Foods, which donated cases of turkey gravy; and Dave Heninger of ConAgra Foods, which donated Swiss Miss and microwave popcorn.

“The collective effort of the SJC community and people of Rensselaer was amazing,” said O’Dette. “This was one of the most successful parties we have hosted."  

Named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation, a "Best Midwestern College" by the Princeton Review, and “Best Value” and "Best Midwestern College" by US News & World Report, Saint Joseph's College is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 35 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of nearly 1,200 students.

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