ACUSHNET NATIVE GIVING BACK
Ashley Goncalves comes from a large Portuguese family, and Christmas was always a blessing growing up in Acushnet.
“I remember going to bed Christmas Eve eager to wake up to find gifts under the tree,” the 23-year-old New Bedford High School graduate recalled about her days as a youngster. “When I was about 10, my grandfather used to dress up as Santa Claus, and just being together as a whole family” was amazing.
Goncalves’ mission is to make sure every child in SouthCoast has the same happy Christmas memories she had.
“…families are waking up Christmas morning knowing that a complete stranger cares about them. That is more important than any gift you can ever buy someone.”
The graduate student at New England Institute of Technology is holding a Holiday Hero drive through Saturday to benefit The Salvation Army and the Neediest Families Fund. She will be collecting monetary donations (made payable to the Neediest Families Fund), nonperishable food items, winter clothes (new and gently used) as well as new and gently used toys for The Salvation Army. Donations can be dropped off at Sensations Salon, 1582 Acushnet Ave., and the Acushnet Community Center, 232 Middle Road.
“There are other ways to give rather than a material item. If you do not have enough in your budget to purchase a new item, you can donate an old jacket you haven’t used in a couple years that is hiding in your closet,” Goncalves said. “These families are thankful for everything they are given, but more importantly, we are giving these families hope. These families are waking up Christmas morning knowing that a complete stranger cares about them. That is more important than any gift you can ever buy someone.”