Inside Stories

MCC Students & LPD Team Up for Toy Drive

The Lowell Police Department’s Emergency Operations Center was packed with Christmas gifts last year during the seventh annual Holiday Toy Drive. Police are hoping to provide gifts to even more city families in need this year. (Photo Courtesy Lowell Police Department)

LOWELL — Acting Superintendent Barry Golner is pleased to report that the Lowell Police Department is partnering with students at Middlesex Community College’s Criminal and Social Justice Department to collect gifts for the eighth annual Lowell Police Holiday Toy Drive this year.

Students in the Criminal and Social Justice Department, under the leadership of Department Chair and Professor Heloisa DaCunha, will assist the Holiday Toy Drive as a service learning project.

Six students in the Law, Justice and Society class will collect toys from the Middlesex Community College Lowell and Bedford campuses. The toys will be transported to the  Lowell Police Department for sorting. The annual toy drive, which accepts donations from community partners,  delivered over 1,000 toys to city families last year.

The six students will then help sort the toys and match them to age-appropriate wish lists.

New, unused, and unwrapped toys and gifts donated by individual donors and community partners last year included clothing, makeup, action figures, gift cards, books, coloring books, dinosaurs, craft supplies, dolls, stuffed animals, puzzles, board games, fidget toys, sports equipment, bicycles, and more.

The toys and gifts will be distributed directly to Lowell children in need by Lowell Public Schools social workers; House of Hope, a shelter for families; and Brigid’s Crossing, a shelter for teenage mothers in Lowell.

Criminal and Social Justice curriculum at MCC includes a focus on social justice issues such as poverty, food insecurity, health disparities, and other issues.

“Students are tasked with addressing different social justice or social problems within the community and helping find solutions for them,” DaCunha said. “Each semester we partner with a different community agency where students have to provide a service.”

The college’s Service Learning Office tracks student work so it can count toward service learning requirements in some degree programs. Students also meet and interact with police and form relationships.

New, unused, and unwrapped toys will be accepted at donation kiosks at the Lowell Police Department, on the Bedford and Lowell campuses of MCC and at other locations throughout the community.

“Those of us at the Lowell Police Department are grateful to Middlesex Community College for joining our community effort to make Christmas brighter for children in need around Lowell,” said Acting Superintendent Golner. “We invite the community and other organizations to join our effort as well.”

The Middlesex Community College Criminal and Social Justice Program strives to prepare students for employment in various agencies within the Criminal Justice system, included but not limited to careers within local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, the courts, and corrections. The program includes focus on both Criminal Justice and Social Justice issues, and offers students opportunities to network and engage with professionals currently working in the fields via service learning and other initiatives.

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