Teens gather each week for the Thursday Night Thing in Levi’s Room at the Fairfield Community Center. They have dinner, play games, listen to guest speakers and hang out.
Deputy town clerk Jeannie Jesseph is one of the organizers of the weekly teen night. She was talking with a local church about plans to give out Christmas gift baskets and asked one of the teens if personal items should be included. After getting an emphatic yes, Jesseph was inspired to put together gift baskets on her own and has embarked on an effort to collect donations from far and wide to provide a gift to the local teens.
Jesseph is asking for donations of hair brushes, hair bands, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, razors (for boys and girls) and shaving cream. She thinks she has toothbrushes and toothpaste lined up. A donor has come forward with a large number of winter hats, but Jesseph still needs scarves and gloves.
“We’re going to see what comes in and then we’re going to make up these bags and give them out,” she said. “The response from the community so far has just overwhelmed me. I’ve had a couple of people talk about giving gifts of either cash or going to the store and purchasing items in the hundreds of dollars.”
She has sent out letters to businesses seeking donations and is looking into partnering with one of the local churches because businesses prefer to make donations to nonprofits.
Jesseph plans to hand out the gift baskets at a Dec. 13 Thursday Night Thing Christmas party. She’s not sure how many teens will show up. “It’s like herding cats,” she said. “It can vary from 10 to 15 and it can be a totally different group.”
Jesseph said she will keep any extra donations to give out to teens who need items in the future.
Donations should be received by Dec. 10 and can be brought to Town Hall at 218 E. Main St. There will also be a donation box at today’s Old Fashioned Christmas Bazaar at the Community Center, just down the block from the town hall. The bazaar will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jesseph said she’s proud of her town for taking on the project. She also helped launch a summer meal program this year with the town’s backing. “The town’s support of its people is just wonderful,” she said. “I’m just grateful to be a part of it.”