This holiday season, Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus security manager Jason Capossere is again collecting gifts, food donations, and cleaning and pet supplies to donate through area organizations to people—and animals— in need.
This is the 15th anniversary of the gift drive, which began as a community service project to help make children living at Seton Youth Shelters in Virginia Beach feel less unwanted and alone. These are children, who through no fault of their own can no longer live in their homes. Rather than live on the streets, or worse, they temporarily have a safe, warm space, with a bed, food, and caring adult supervision.
Capossere was serving in the Navy when he began volunteering at Seton and became the “Santa” of the shelter. When he left the military in 2008, Capossere decided to maintain the tradition and continued to supply holiday gifts to the roughly 24 children living there.
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, Capossere will collect items that the teens are not expecting, but are so grateful to receive. The presents, Capossere says, bring smiles to their faces and a sense of self-worth to their anything but normal lives.
Items needed are new or like-new, age-appropriate gifts for 12–17 year old boys and girls, such as costume jewelry, winter gloves and hats, board games, video games, and clothing—all sizes.
This year, as last, Capossere has added the Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s food pantry to the recipient list. As an unabashed dog lover, he hasn’t forgotten the animals, so donations will be accepted for the Virginia Beach SPCA. Nonperishable food and cleaning items are requested for both JFS and the SPCA, and specifically for the SPCA, dog treats, beds, towels, and cat or dog toys will also be collected.
Over the years, Capossere’s marathon wrapping sessions at the campus, on or near Christmas Eve, garnered attention. Members and staff took notice, and they asked if they could help with the project. Each year the list of individuals bringing in donations and participating in “wrap day” grows. Capossere also gets beautifully handcrafted hats and scarves from the knitting group that meets on Wednesdays at the Simon Family JCC.
In November, the JCC Senior Club surprised Capossere with a donation of $500 to purchase gifts.
Donations can be dropped off at any Campus security booth. For more questions about donations or to volunteer with giftwrapping, contact email@example.com. To learn more about any of the programs being supported, visit their web pages: www.setonyouthshelters.org, www.vbspca.com, www.jfshamptonroads.org.