TREES FOR THE GIVING
MCCC nursing students brighten holidays for military families
For the seventh year, Montgomery County Community College’s Student Nursing Club has participated in the national Trees for Troops initiative, providing 170 Christmas trees for military families to make their holidays brighter and happier.
Each year, nursing students hold fundraisers to purchase the trees at a discounted price. This year, the students raised $600 by selling raffle tickets for a donated HP 15-inch laptop at the annual Whitpain Community Festival.
On Nov. 30, nursing students Kimberly Fortino-Chaples of Lansdale, Sunday Bassey of Norristown and Kendra Schultz of Birdsboro, along with Dr. Concetta Fiorentino, Nursing Faculty/Student Nurse Club Advisor, and Dr. Linda Roy, the Director of the Nursing Program joined members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, legislators, state and local officials and other community members at Bustard’s Christmas Trees in Lansdale to launch the national Trees for Troops weekend campaign.
Owners Jay and Glenn Bustard invited the students because they are “one of the most active groups” to partner with Bustard’s to support this special initiative that sends Christmas trees to military families and troops.
“I always enjoy working with the students from Montgomery County Community College. It’s nice to see people give back,” said Jay Bustard. “We have participated in Trees for Troops program since it started 14 years ago.”
Nationwide, more than 17,400 trees were delivered to 70 military bases across the country, and 250 trees were delivered to troops last year, according the Trees for Troops website. FedEx ships the trees from the tree farms to the military bases for free.
Fortino-Chaples, a U.S. Army veteran, knows firsthand how difficult it is to be away from family during the holiday season. She spoke at the event about her experience and why the nursing students want to help with this program.
“We want to help military families who are missing loved ones during the holidays by giving them Christmas trees,” she said, noting that they would be donating 25 trees this year.
The nursing students also are a part of Joining Forces, a national initiative started by former First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. This program encourage organizations and schools to train nurses in the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for military service members, veterans and their families.
Trees for Troops was launched by the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation in 2005. Since then, more than 193,237 real trees have been delivered to military families throughout the United States and overseas. Trees are contributed by Bustard’s and about 30 other Christmas tree growers and retail lots in the U.S. To learn more, visit http:// www.treesfortroops.org.
About Montgomery County Community College
For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.
As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College also is recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.
Montgomery County Community College’s Student Nursing Club raised money to donate 25 Christmas trees to brighten the holidays for military families as part of the national Trees for Troops initiative. From left: MCCC Nursing Faculty/Student Nurse Club Advisor Dr. Concetta Fiorentino, student Kendra Schultz, student/veteran Kimberly FortinoChaples, student Sunday Bassey and MCCC Nursing Program Director Dr. Linda Roy.