Donation Boxes Around Campus to Benefit Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach 


Photo by Staff Photographer Nicole Pomerleau

By Brooke Eastman ‘25, Staff Writer

Those walking around the St. John Fisher Campus will find several boxes collecting toys, clothing and other donations for Mary’s Place — an organization that helps refugees better acclimate to the area.

“Mary’s Place is a refugee outreach center in Rochester, there’s 13 locations across campus (for donations) so we will be collecting them every couple days,” said drive co-moderator and professor of Refugees and Race in Rochester, Dr. Jennifer Rossi.

The drive began on November 29 and will run through Thursday, December 9.

“Students will be collecting them every couple days just so we can replenish, then we’ll take stuff on the 9th right to Mary’s Place,” said Rossi.

The drive was hosted by the Race & Refugees in Rochester Learning Community, along with Fisher professors by professors Dr. Rossi and Dr. Jebaroja Singh. African American Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Cardinal Company, Political Action Club, Peer Support Team, Senior Diversity Officer, Sociology, NEH Grant in Place-Based Learning all sponsored the drive. 

“I just think they’re doing a good job of entering into other people’s shoes,” Dr. Rossi said about her students who are donating their time to help with the drive. 

“Dr. Singh set up all these connections with our community,” Rossi added. “Folks come through here to the U.S. and then they’re resettled, and they generally have like a backpack and that’s it.” 

Some donation options include hats, scarves and mittens or blankets. “Folks come and they get some donations but they’re often from warm countries, and they come here in winter and can’t get warm,” Rossi said. 

Rossi noted that Mary’s Place does not have the space to hold items such as coats. However, Saint’s Place does accept coat donations. Mary’s Place is also looking for new, unwrapped toys to put in gift bags. 

“What Mary’s place is wanting to do is just having kids have some brand new toys to play with because that’s not a thing, that’s not usually in the donations, just have a soccer ball to play with or you come here and you can’t read yet so picture books without words and things like that,” said Rossi. 

“Just the idea of fulfilling the basic human needs for dignity, but also play and joy because a lot of readings we’ve been doing this semester students have noticed that people are missing home, missing family members, they don’t know English yet so it might be hard to make friends here, just any way of helping people be more connected in the Rochester community,” she said.

Donation ideas:

For children:

  • Stuffed animals
  • Dinosaurs
  • Puzzles
  • Legos
  • Blocks
  • Playdoh
  • Bouncy ball
  • Action figures  

Warm Clothes (No Coats):

  • Blankets 
  • Mittens
  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Thick Socks

For teenagers:

  • Uno
  • Deck of playing cards 
  • Dominos 
  • Checkers 
  • Journals
  • Sketchbooks
  • Art supplies 
  • Sports balls (basketball, football, soccer ball)


Donation Box Locations:

  • Basil Hall (sitting area and front doors)
  • Campus Life Center (NEST, SGA Office, across from security 
  • CyberCafe (by registers)
  • Fay Building (TRIO lounge & Dr. Rossi 103)
  • Health Sciences Building (Dr. Picardo ISHS 203)
  • Kearney (Dean’s Suite 203 & Dr. Singh 306C
  • Library (by statue at front entrance)
  • Nursing (Dean’s Suite 201)
  • Salerno (Dean’s Suite 204) 

Amazon Hygiene Wish List can be found here.

Online donations can be made here.