Elizabethtown College’s Giving Tree to benefit senior’s non-profit
Every year during the holidays, Elizabethtown College puts up the Giving Tree in the Marketplace and fills it with goods that benefit different non-profits. Students, faculty and staff can sponsor a donation to help these organizations. This year, the Giving Tree will benefit the charity Todd’s Angels, which was founded by senior Brooke Mazzone.
“Being accepted as the recipient of the Giving Tree was a dream come true,” Mazzone said.
Mazzone is a social work and Spanish double major. She is a certified child welfare caseworker with the Lancaster County Children & Youth Services, where she plans to continue her full-time job after graduation. She also gives an annual lecture about her experiences growing up as a foster family to educate students, faculty and staff about the foster care system.
She founded Todd’s Angels during her senior year in high school in 2015 and it is an infant clothing charity. She collects donations and distributes them to local hospitals in order to provide clothing for children born into the system.
Her idea to start a non-profit started with a little boy named Todd, a baby taken at birth and placed into her family’s care, arriving at her home in only a diaper. Todd’s Angels seeks to provide clothing for children like him who have nothing when they are born, emphasizing that all children deserve the same quality of life and basic needs.
“Not only does it provide clothing as a basic necessity, but it provides clothing as dignity,” Mazzone said. “These kids are sent to foster homes with nothing on their backs. They deserve the same start as a child with an otherwise traditional family would.”
Mazzone stated that working for foster children is her passion and that running an organization to benefit that objective is fulfilling for her. She has been the only employee of Todd’s Angels until recently, when her roommates became involved. This meant that all of the responsibilities of running a company, including marketing, networking, distribution, and inventory, defaulted to her. Even though these duties were very stressful to handle alone, knowing that she was making a difference in children’s lives helped her muddle through any doubts.
“Running my own non-profit is one of the most rewarding, exciting, and exhausting things I have ever done,” she said.
She said that being selected as the beneficiary of the Giving Tree was a coincidence since Dining Services was looking to donate to an infant charity this year. Unsure of the selection process, she reached out to Eric Turzai, head of Dining Services, and introduced Todd’s Angels as an option. He immediately reached out to Mazzone to accept her non-profit.
“When I first came to see the tree in the Marketplace, friends captured my reaction on camera because of how emotional I got,” Mazzone said. “To see [her project] develop into something recognizable [and] appreciated, [and] to have volunteers and an engaged campus makes me extremely proud of all my non-profit has become.”
This is the first time in the College’s history that a student-led non-profit has been chosen to be the beneficiary of the Giving Tree. In years past, E-town has donated to organizations such as the Susquehanna Service Dogs and the YWCA. This tradition began in 2007, when Dining Services first purchased the tree frame and decorated it with poinsettias. In the following years, the department decided to fill the frame with donations that people could sponsor for local charities, according to Office Manager of Dining Services Lynda Hudzick.
“I’m proud to go to a school that puts so much emphasis on service for others, and supports me in my mission,” Mazzone said.