Holiday tradition inspires community engagement


Sophomore Nick Leone, along with his family, hands out food and other neccessities to the homeless at the corner of Baltimore and Gay street Nov. 26.

Morgan Pierce and Emily Williams

Every Thanksgiving, sophomore Nick Leone runs the drive, “From the Heart,” that gives donated clothing, food and other necessary items to the homeless at the corner of Baltimore and Gay street.
Leone has been doing this since he was two years old.

“I’ve basically grown up serving these people,” he said, “It feels like a part of me, I don’t know where I’d be without it.”

At the beginning, Leone helped at with sodas, but as he got older it became his project.
“Being in control of all these people and this huge operation it’s pretty neat,” Leone said.

He recalled a moment when he went on the radio to talk about his tradition, and received more helpers than people.

“People came up to me that I didn’t even know and told me this is a good thing you do,” he said.
Leone said that one man in particular that is there embodies the holiday spirit.

“Every time he’s there he’s always dancing and singing. He gets everybody to sing along and it’s a really cool moment to see how everybody comes together.”

Recently, Leone and his family have been living in a hotel because of a fire that uncovered mold in his home.

Despite this he is still going through with the drive.

“We can’t just stop, we’ve been doing it for so long.”

Music teacher Christina Senita and the national music honor society, Tri-M, are sponsoring Leone’s drive. Students and  teachers can donate either new or gently used goods or their time by helping Leone’s family the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving.

Senita remarks that she wanted to help the drive because of the “heart behind it.”

“Our society needs people who actively become a part of the solutions to our problems.”