Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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March 16, 2010

TOWN OF LOCKPORT: Pair of birthday kids give gifts to less fortunate

TOWN OF LOCKPORT — Will Rahill and Clare Casalinuovo got nothing for their birthdays. That’s because the 6-year-olds decided to give some gifts of their own to those less fortunate.

For their birthdays, Rahill and Casalinuovo donated more than 80 different items to the Sister Helen’s Pantry in the St. John’s Outreach Center on Chestnut Street. The kids took donations from guests to their birthday party, then delivered them Monday. The kids were accompanied by their mothers, Karen Rahill and Karen Casalinuovo, as they visited St. John’s on Monday with bags of non-perishable items.

Karen Casalinuovo said they discussed with their kids the idea of taking donations instead of gifts. And both Will and Clare wanted to do it.

“They were happy with the idea,” Karen Casalinuovo said. “Their class has done things for Catholic Charities before. So instead of presents, they wanted to take donations.”

“They loved it, parents loved it,” Karen Rahill said. “Hopefully it’ll start something.”

Both Rahill and Casalinuovo are in kindergarten at DeSales Catholic School. Since their birthdays are close — Clare’s is Feb. 24 and Will’s is Feb. 27 — the families decided to have a joint party at Flips Gymnastics on South Transit Road. About 13 kids attended, each with some non-perishable items to donate.

The birthday pair received some more donations after the party from their fellow students. To make Monday’s drop-off even better, Clare Casalinuovo was chosen to take home Honey Bear, the official class bear. Kids get to take him home periodically and keep a journal of their activities together.

Receiving donations instead of gifts had some other benefits, Karen Rahill said.

“It was nice at the party. They had more time to play,” she said. “We didn’t have ‘whose present is better,’ or he didn’t get this or that.”

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