Santa helpers
PEF members unload gifts for the Santa Shop at School 29 in Rochester. From left to right: Crystal Briggs, Charlene, Dee Maddie, Meaghan Dwyer and Greg Salamida.


December 21, 2022 — Elementary students at the Adlai E. Stevenson School No. 29 in Rochester can shop for their parents, guardians, and loved ones at the school’s Santa Shop thanks to the generous donations of PEF members and their community. 

Santa Shop
Parent Liaison Char Cleveland and PEF members Cierra Wagner and Charlene Delallo at the Santa Shop collection at School 29 in Rochester.

“It means everything to the students to get gifts for family members that are new and in great condition,” said school parent liaison Char Cleveland. “It’s great just to see the joy in their faces to take things home to their families.” 

This is the first year PEF has participated in the Santa Shop, said PEF member Charlene Delallo, a developmental disabilities program specialist at Finger Lakes DDSO. 

“The school representatives were very awestruck,” she said. “They didn’t realize how many items we were bringing, and they were very appreciative. They asked what union we were from and if we would be interested in assisting in a volunteer capacity and if we would continue to help collect some items for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.” 

Cleveland said the Mother’s Day collection sends every student home with something special.  

“We make sure every mom has a gift,” she said. “We appreciate all the donations and look forward to a continued partnership with PEF.” 

Delallo said PEF donated hundreds of items for the kids to choose from, setting up donation boxes at several day habilitation sites in counties in Region 3. 

Region 3 Coordinator Leisa Abraham said Finger Lakes DDSO has a long history of outreach to the local community, such as collecting socks and blankets for the hospital. This year, they collaborated with other Divisions and agencies in the area. 

“We are hoping to inspire everyone to do something like it,” Abraham said. “I think it’s important for kids to feel that kind of empowerment, of choosing and purchasing these gifts on their own.”