Mount Saint Charles Participates in the Gingerbread Express at a Providence Elementary School

WOONSOCKET, RI — On Wednesday, December 17th, Mount Saint Charles Academy ‘s volleyball coach, Josh D’Abate, and members of the girls volleyball team joined forces with local volunteers to participate in the Gingerbread Express at the William D’Abate Elementary School (K-5) in Providence, which is the second poorest school in the country with an average income of less than $14,000/household.

Also known as “Gingerbread Day,” this year’s event was the volleyball team’s 9th year participating and the program’s 25th year of service to the William D’Abate School and to local families. The school was named after Coach D’Abate’s grandfather who was part of the city council for 20 years and served as a state senator for 10 years. William D’Abate was a huge champion for public education and as a result the school was named after him in the early 1970s. Since his passing, William D’Abate’s family has turned his mission and vision into a living legacy through the Gingerbread Express.

During the holiday season, all students in the William D’Abate School are adopted by various groups and families and are given toys through the Gingerbread Express. In return, the students make Christmas ornaments for those who adopted them in this gift exchange and for all of the volunteers who help on the delivery day.

Leading up to the day of the event, toys are brought to the National Education Association of RI (NEARI) by the people who have adopted each student. A tractor trailer is then filled with these gifts and brought to the school. Toys are even donated from as far away as Holland in the Netherlands. In an assembly line with approximately 100 other volunteers, Coach D’Abate and the Mount girls spent the morning unloading the truck and helping distribute the gifts to the students. “We’re fortunate to be in a position to give back during this time of year,” Coach D’Abate said. “Our girls really enjoy being part of this event. It brings a special meaning to this time of year for a lot of these young children. Our girls also get to experience the true meaning of Christmas in the sense of giving during this holiday season.”

Katherine Machione, a senior at Mount, was one of the volleyball players to participate in this year’s Gingerbread Express.  “I think as a team we consider the Gingerbread Express a really good way of giving back to the community,” Machione said. “It puts a lot of things during the Christmas season in perspective. Instead of being worried about getting presents and going to parties and seeing everyone, we’re worried about making this Christmas special for that one child.

Volunteers involved and in attendance included but were not limited to the following: Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh Clements Jr.; the president of NEARI; Providence Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza; Providence police officers and Providence firefighters; Atrion Networking; Horace Mann Insurance; students from local high schools and the University of the Rhode Island; Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist along with representatives from both the state of Rhode Island and the City of Providence Departments of Education; local politicians; the president of the Providence Teachers’ Union; as well as the president of the RI American Federation of Teachers (RI AFT) and the president of the RI American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (RI AFL-CIO). The day was filled with festive music, and the telling of the magical “Gingerbread Day” story. It was a great holiday event celebrating the true spirit of the season.


To see pictures from the event, please visit Mount’s Media Gallery on the MSC website:      

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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