HANOVER – Seven high school students packed 100 Valentine’s Day gift baskets and gave them to seniors in Hanover.
The organizer, Ashley Stracco, 16, of Hanover, dropped off the baskets at the senior center Feb. 7.
It is Ashley’s eighth time running a charity project for her community. By seventh grade, she started “Cards for Kindness,” making and distributing hundreds of Christmas cards in the neighborhood.
In 2019, when she delivered her Christmas cards to a nursing home in Norwell, one of the residents asked them to sing a Christmas carol.
“Here we were at a small room of the nursing home, singing and dancing ‘Jingle Bells,'” Ashley recalled. “That inspired me to keep going with this project.”
She started her gift basket project by Easter 2021 when she sent goodie bags to the Hanover Senior Center, as well as to shelters in Norwell and Weymouth.
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Her gifts came from local businesses. She received gift cards from Dunkin’ and others from an anonymous donor. Ashley said she was surprised by their generosity.
“We are very thankful that it goes the way it did,” she said.
On Feb. 5, seven students spent six hours packing up 100 gift baskets. Each basket contains snacks, a mini flashlight, antibacterial wipes and a homemade valentine’s card.
“It is unfortunate that some people might not be able to get some these things by themselves, so it is good to have these in the bags,” Finn O’Gara, 17, of Marshfield, said.
The senior center will distribute the gifts while delivering meals to the seniors in need.
Ashley’s friends said her leadership played a substantial role in the group. Many of them joined for her passion and kindness. Ciara Leonard, 15, of Hanover, joined the team three years ago when Ashley’s Christmas card project became a sensation in the community.
“She is the best,” Ciara said.
Ashley and her friends are planning their third Easter basket project,to send 30 gift baskets to the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore as well as 100 goodie bags to the Hanover Senior Center.
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“I am just trying to go with the flow and try to help as many people as possible,” Ashley said regarding the future of her charity work.
Ashley Stracco and her friends can be reached for donations of Easter baskets through [email protected]
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Reach Hongyu Liu at [email protected]