SuffolkGOP gets generous


Photo by Ryan Boyle

Angela Bray

Journal Staff

The SuffolkGOP care package drive for the 181st Infantry of the Army National Guard serving in Afghanistan began at the start of the semester, and will be collecting donations until December 3.

“With the donations, we go to a store with the soldiers’ shopping list, buy everything in bulk, package in boxes and bring to the post office,” said Scott Zalatoris, a sophomore and vice president of SuffolkGOP. “Packages are received just before Christmas, when the commanders on the grounds divide them up.”

Items purchased include those hygiene-related, such as razors, along with snacks and candy bars. The Student Government Association (SGA) covers the shipping costs.

“I think the drive shows student spirit; how we celebrate and thank those who fight for us,” said Nicholas DiZoglio, senior and SGA vice president. “The time put into [the drive] makes the Suffolk community proud for supporting the yellow ribbon.”

The drive has been promoted through Facebook, flyers and word of mouth. “A lot has been the tabling efforts in the Donahue and Sawyer lobbies,” said Zalatoris. “When we’re sitting in the lobby, people see us and realize this is something worth donating to.”

“I’m happy I’ve had the chance to give back to the men and women who sacrifice so much for us on a daily basis,” said senior Andrew MacDonald, an active member of SuffolkGOP. “I wish more people were understanding and grateful for their services.”

The first kickoff event for the drive was a basketball game sponsored by the college Democrats and Republicans. The requested door donations totaled $400.

Last night, SGA sponsored the Pizza, Pastries and Packages event which was held for the first time in Donahue 403. Attendees wrote letters to soldiers while enjoying pizza and cannolis. “A lot of people have worked hard this year to raise money. This is a wrap-up, a last chance to donate and write letters as a thank you,” said Zalatoris. “It’s good to see students here, recognizing soldiers’ services.”

“We wanted to help continue [the drive’s] success and growth as a whole,” said Courtney Porcella, a senior and SGA public relations chair.

“We’ve really grown. This is a leading charitable event for [SuffolkGOP]. The amount of generosity Suffolk shares is inspiring,” said Zalatoris. “It’s a good way to get support from the Suffolk community and SGA. We couldn’t have done it without SGA.”

According to Zalatoris, $1,000 was raised in checks and the event was expected to raise a few hundred in cash. “The total now is over $2,100,” he said, which exceeds the goal of $1,000.

“I think it’s great a lot of people are coming [to the event]. It’s important we’re writing these letters” said junior Karl Beckstein as he wrote one himself. “None of this would be happening without them. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here studying and learning.”