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Learning Community Course Hosts New Toy and Warm Clothing Drive

November 18, 2021

This fall, students in the Learning Community course, Refugees and Race in Rochester, are hosting a New Toy and Warm Clothing Drive to benefit refugee families at Mary’s Place.

The course, co-taught by Drs. Roja Singh, visiting assistant professor of women and gender studies, and Jennifer Rossi, associate professor and chair of the American Studies Department, teaches students about the struggles that refugees face when they arrive in their new homes. During the course, Singh invited refugees from Mary’s Place; Catholic Family Center’s Refugee Resettlement; and ARSEO, Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services, among others, to share their experiences with the students.

The students organized the drive to support a holiday party at Mary’s Place and Rossi invited members of the Political Action Club to join the effort. Sara Casale, PAC’s president, said the drive fits well with the student organization’s mission of creating positive change in the community.

“The members of the club are eager to join as we thought of the drive as a way to fulfill a need in the community and connect students to the larger Rochester community,” Casale said. “We find it important to be involved in the community as it creates connections and an appreciation of learning of different individuals who live and share the same community as us.”

The holiday party supplies gifts for infants through 12th grade students that are newly arrived refugees in the Rochester area. Fisher’s drive is requesting new and unused donations. Some examples of donations might include but are not limited to the following:

  • INFANT/KID: stuffed animals, dinosaurs, puzzles, building blocks, playdoh, bouncy balls, action figures
  • TEENS: Earbuds, UNO, playing cards, dominos, checkers, journals, sketch books, art supplies, sports equipment including basketballs, footballs, or soccer balls
  • WARM CLOTHES: blankets, mittens, thick socks, hats, scarves (jackets and coats are not needed)

Donations will be collected from Monday, Nov. 29 through Thursday, Dec. 9 and can be dropped off in the marked boxes on campus.  For questions, please email Dr. Jennifer Rossi at

The drive is also supported by a host of sponsors, including the African American Studies program, American Studies Department, Anthropology Department, Cardinal Company, Political Action Club, Peer Support Team, the Senior Diversity Officer, the Sociology Department, and the NEH Grant in Place-Based Learning.

This article was written by Leslie Noble ’21, a marketing major and PR writing intern with the Office of Marketing and Communications.