By: Jackie Schaeffer, Archbishop Ryan High School – Philadelphia, PA.
PHILADELPHIA – As the long-time Christmas tradition goes, people often exchange gifts with loved ones during the holiday season. For Archbishop Ryan history teacher Mr. Michael Southrey, “loved ones” include children at a local Philadelphia hospital.
Rather than purchasing gifts for each other, Mr. Southrey and his wife buy gifts for the Secret Santa program organized by The Committee to Benefit The Children. The CBC, which was established in 1980, is a volunteer charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for children who are battling cancer and their families. These children are patients treated at the Hematology-Oncology Division of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
“It was after our second Christmas together that we decided we wanted to do something better with our money for the holidays,” said Mr. Southrey. “ At the time, my wife’s company would adopt a family through a local charity and buy Christmas presents for them. We decided we wanted to do something similar and Kate (Mrs. Southrey) set out to make that happen.”
”Growing up, both of our families instilled in us that we were lucky to be able to afford the things we wanted and that other families were not as fortunate. It was that idea that made us decide to donate Christmas gifts to children whose parents could not afford to give them the Christmas morning we were lucky enough to have as children,” said Mr. Southrey.
This will be Mr. Southrey and his wife’s third Christmas supporting The Committee to Benefit the Children’s secret santa program at St. Christopher’s Hospital. The Secret Santa program is just one of many ways people can help the families at St. Christopher’s Hospital. For more information about how to get involved at St. Christopher’s click here.