By MIKE CHAIKEN
Two local titleholders are holding charitable drives to make the winter holidays more pleasant this year for families in need.
On Saturday, Miss Forestville Allison Owsianko will be holding a turkey drive at the Forestville Stop and Shop on Pine Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Then on Sunday, Miss Bristol Christina Judd will be holding a toy drive at the Walmart on Farmington Avenue in Bristol from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The turkey drive will benefit the Christian Fellowship Center. The toy drive benefits the Secret Santa Society and the United Way of West Central Connecticut.
Allison said of the turkey drive, “Thanksgiving is a time where we are reminded to think of everything we are thankful for. As a society, we often take aspects of life for granted and this includes how we are able to have food on our tables. With having a turkey drive, it gives the opportunity for people to have a meal and to sit with one another and talk about how grateful we are for what we do have. A vision starts with an individual, but without a community, the vision may not become a reality. The turkey drive will not be successful without the community’s support. “
As for the toy drive, Christina explained, “It is a special opportunity for me to run a toy drive. Throughout the years, I have always been the one donating but this time I get to take charge. This drive is important to the community because all donations are staying within the Bristol community.”
Both drives are long-standing traditions by title holders in Bristol.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to continue these drives,” said Christina. “It is nice to know that I am continuing the tradition of so many successful young women preceding me. The Bristol community has been so welcoming towards me since I was crowned last month, so now it’s time for me to start giving back..
Alison said it felt “amazing” to continue this holiday tradition. “As Miss Forestville, I want to make an impact on as many people as I can. For this drive, I would hope to be making an impact on everyone who donates and those who receive the donated food. My hope is that no one in our community goes without that day.”
As for her goal for the drive, Christina said, “My biggest goal… is to raise awareness for them throughout Bristol and the surrounding communities. I want to help as many people as possible- so the more donations, the better.”
“The turkey drive isn’t all about the turkey,” explained Allison, “it’s about everything that is on that Thanksgiving Day table. Turkeys are a major part, which is why I have a goal of 80 turkeys this year. I know turkeys are not the cheapest, but you can still make an impact on a few canned goods, or a few dollars. With the money we receive, we will do our own shopping and get as many turkeys as we can get. This truly shows the community coming together and trying to reach one particular goal in any way they can.”
Both title holders were asked how they would respond if they were told by their parents that this year might not have the same Thanksgiving or Christmas as other families might have.
“With Thanksgiving being one of my favorite holidays, I don’t know what I would say,” said Allison. “I would want to use my own earnings and create a Thanksgiving for all of us to enjoy. At the same time, it will really make us realize how we do take aspects of life for granted and understand the true meaning of thankfulness. But I would also realize with the great community we have, we wouldn’t be without a Thanksgiving meal.”
“Of course, I would feel disappointed, but I would be understanding of the situation,” said Christina. “Parents work hard to provide for their children and sometimes this does not leave a lot of money for luxuries like toys at Christmas. However, by holding a toy drive, we can ensure that less families and children have to feel this way.”
And if they were the ones who the community had helped this holiday season?
“I would feel elated and blessed to know that the community cared enough to make sure the holidays will still be festive all thanks to the community’s generous donations,” said Christina. “It’s because of the compassion and empathy of others that my family would be able to celebrate the holidays.
Allison said: “The Bristol and Forestville communities try their absolute best and succeed into helping out families who need help. The people who receive the donations are truly grateful because of a community like ours. It will give everyone within the community a sense of relief knowing that everyone will have a meal on the table that special day. I know if I was put in the situation, I know I would not have to worry about not having a meal, because the community comes together and donates to such a wonderful cause.”
To the community, Allison said, “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a moment. Think about if you weren’t able to give your family a Thanksgiving. You would want to make sure you had community support. Please consider donating.”
“Unlike many other charities and drives,” Christina said, “all of your donations stay right here in Bristol so you can give knowing that your benevolent donations are helping your neighbors.”
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.
By MIKE CHAIKEN