“By Molly Sweeney
On Wednesday, members of the Assumption College community gave back to the community in a rather unique way. The 16th annual Tickets for Tots program, sponsored by Campus Police, allows students who received a motor vehicle citation to donate a non-violent toy in order to receive a reduced fine.
The win-win situation benefits members of the community who need a little extra help during the Holiday season.
There is a maximum of two parking ticket per student, that are eligible for the reduced fine, and accepted in the form of a toy or a ten dollar donation. Campus Police accepts both cash donations, which are given to the T&G Santa Fund and the toys go to the Marines’ Toys for Tots, as well as other organizations throughout Worcester.
The program is always held on the last day of classes during the Christmas in Charlie’s event. Santa, and his other Christmas counterparts join in on the fun every year to benefit the cause.
“I really like that I am able to donate to Toys for Tots for my parking tickets,” said Assumption senior Ethel McGinn. “I think that it’s a really powerful thing to do because it gives me a good thing to do to redeem karma.”
According to Assumption College Campus Police, during the past 16 years, they have also donated to groups in addition to the Marines’ Toys for Tots. After Hurricane Katrina, families in New Orleans received Assumption donated toys. Catholic Charities has received Assumption toys, and any other toys have been donated to local towns who have experienced needs.
Assumption has had its share of heartbreak in the past three years when they lost Colleen Ritzer ’11, and Jeffery Means, a gate officer who passed away while employed by the college. Donations to the T&G Santa Fund have been made in the memory of Ritzer and Means to continue their legacy of giving.
“All the toys and funds collected are donated by the Assumption College community,” said Lt. Keith Hough, the Assumption Police Officer who runs Tickets for Tots each year. “We go out of our way to make sure it is understood that it is not the Campus Police, it is the community.”
Campus Police does not have an average number of donations each year.
“It lets the community know that we are looking out for them and that is what makes it great.”“I have never focused on the number of tickets we take in each year,” said Hough. “I focus on the generosity of the community in helping out those in need.”
“Tickets for Tots, despite the ease it creates for students to get out of their tickets, is a great way to help those less fortunate than ourselves,” said Kevin Swenson, a senior.
“It seems that getting a parking ticket in the first week of school was something to brood about. Nevertheless, found it something to rejoice in for the sake of donating a Toy for Tots in order to remove the infraction,” said Assumption junior Michael Hoye. “On the contrary, the removal of an infraction is good, but donating for the sake of a self-interest makes known the importance of intention behind acts.”
Over the years, the Assumption community has been very generous in supporting this program, and we consider ourselves fortunate to continue to offer this program having Assumption give back to others in need.
“Donating a Toy for Tots is a good inasmuch as it makes an individual reflect on the most perfect intention behind ones act: doing good for the sake of good itself,” said Hoye.