TRUMBULL, Conn. -- During the holiday season, Trumbull High School freshman Cassandra Anelante collected 250 toys for children in need.
Cassandra, 14, collected the new, unwrapped toys from friends, family and classmates. Once collected, these toys get presented to children who are clients of The Center for Family Justice, a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis and prevention program that serves Trumbull, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Easton, Monroe and Stratford.
She solicited the toys on social media channels and through word of mouth, then presented the toys to the center's staff a few days before Christmas. The toys were then given to children living in the center’s housing programs, which provide temporary shelter to families impacted by domestic violence.
“These kids tend to be forgotten, especially around the holidays,” said Cassandra. “The center is a place that is close to my family’s heart and I really wanted to help.”
In 2014, when Cassandra began the project, she collected about 126 toys through an appeal on her mother Cindy Anelante’s Facebook page.
Anelante said her daughter’s 2015 goal was to double her collection and she was proud she succeeded.
“We are truly touched by Cassie’s efforts on behalf of our clients,” said Debra Greenwood, president/CEO of The Center for Family Justice.
“It’s very special that she sets aside time from all of her personal commitments as a busy high school student to think of other children at the holidays. What she’s able to accomplish on her own is quite extraordinary. We couldn’t be more impressed with her efforts and are so grateful and appreciative.”
Cassandra, who is an honor student at Trumbull High, plans to continue her efforts with another drive in 2016.
The Center for Family Justice Inc. offers domestic, sexual and child abuse services – crisis intervention, police, prosecutors, civil/legal providers, counseling – under one roof at its headquarters in Bridgeport. Together, they work to break the cycle of violence by helping those in crisis restore their lives.
For more information, visit www.CenterForFamilyJustice.org .