URI College of Nursing and company spreads holiday cheer

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 7, 2005 — University of Rhode Island College of Nursing staff, faculty members, and students from the Community Health Nursing course will donate on Dec. 17, 40 to 50 gift bags filled with winter necessities to the elderly residents of the Dominica Manor and Carroll Towers in Providence. Many of those receiving the gift bags are immigrants who speak little English, only have contact with each other, and cannot afford to buy basic necessities to get them through the cold, winter months.

College of Nursing staff secretary Ellen Cuomo is leading the drive. For the past 22 years, the Charlestown resident has spent time every holiday season helping those less fortunate. This year, she hopes to help more people than ever before.

“We as a nursing community feel very called upon to help others,” said Cuomo, who is encouraging donations until Dec. 15. She is in need of new sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, hats and gloves for men and women. She is also looking for 50-by-60 inch blankets, soap, shampoo, instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate, oatmeal, and canned vegetables and soups. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

Anyone can get involved, and Cuomo is already very pleased with the generosity of those who have donated. “A URI Parking Services employee brought 25 items to the office,” she said. “Students come to me and donate one dollar… it might not seem like a lot of money, but it buys a box of instant oatmeal.” Students and faculty members have even brought her coupons from home, so she can buy items at discounted prices. Local businesses have also donated items including towels, and also food and coffee for the small celebration on Dec. 17 when the gift bags are distributed.

Her goal for next year is to do a similar gift drive, but on an even larger scale. She also would like to encourage everyone to help those less fortunate on a year-round basis.

“When you commandeer the generosity of people it’s like a domino effect, and it’s really been wonderful,” she said.

For more information about the drive, or to donate items or money, please contact Ellen Cuomo at 401-874-5304 or Ellenm57@aol.com by Dec. 15.