Girard students deliver Christmas to the city's needy

By danny restivo


Brandon Martuccio is a 295-pound college football prospect who doesn’t quite fit the profile of a dress enthusiast.

In the spirit of the holidays, however, the senior provided the item for a 2-year-old girl.

“It’s Christmas; it’s a great time of the year to help other people,” he said. “I’m just doing what we can.”

Martuccio is among 60 high school students to participate in a gift-purchasing program to benefit less fortunate families and children in the community.

Angie Cochran, guidance counselor, and her husband, Nick Cochran, high school football coach, are in their 15th year of the program. Angie said teachers provide names of students and families who may need help before Christmas. With the help of other teachers and staff, they compile a list of children, which includes gender, age and a Christmas wish list. The students then sign up to provide specific gifts for a family in the community.

“The whole system is completely anonymous,” she said. “The students just get their age and if it’s a girl or a boy, and something they may want for Christmas.”

Martuccio was joined by fellow seniors Evan DelBene and John Norman to find a dress for a toddler, as well as two Xbox games for a 15-year-old boy. Each member of the trio pitched in $20 for the gifts.

“We all throw in what we could so we could do our part for the holidays,” said DelBene.

The children were among the 180 the program provided gifts for. Angie Cochran said this year has the most children ever.

“We try to reach the most children possible, but some kids are going to slip through the cracks,” she said.

On Friday, teachers and staff gathered all the gifts at the high school before they were taken to families in the community. In an effort to protect the anonymity of the students receiving presents, the students purchasing the gifts did not participate in the giveaway. Even though they didn’t get to see the faces of the children they provided gifts for, Martuccio, Norman and DelBene shared in the true meaning of the holidays.

“It just warms your heart that you could help someone out during Christmas,” said Norman.

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