Students Raise Over $5,000 for Charities in Australia and Puerto Rico
Erin Herbert

Cardinal Gibbons students raised a total of $5,327 for charities in Australia and Puerto Rico by participating in "Dress Down Days" on Jan. 16 and 23. 

During the "Dress Down Days," students are allowed to dress out of uniform for a day if they give a $5.00 donation to charity. The $2,027 raised on Jan. 16 will be donated to the Australian Red Cross to aid disaster relief and recovery efforts in areas affected by the country's brushfires. 

Funds from the Jan. 23 "Dress Down Day" were designated for Colegio Ponceño, a Piarist school in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where a number of families were severely impacted by the earthquakes that hit in early January 2020. Students raised $2,300, and the Piarist Fathers supplemented the students' donations with an additional $1,000, bringing the donation total to $3,300. This cause was very near and dear to Piarist Father and Cardinal Gibbons Theology teacher Rev. Ricardo Rivera's heart, as he is originally from Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. He was incredibly appreciative of the outpouring of support that his students displayed for his home. 

These "Dress Down Days" have proven to be a successful way to get students involved in charitable giving. In November and December of 2019, students raised over $4,000 through these "Dress Down Days" to benefit the school's annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Drives. All of the proceeds were used to purchase Publix gift cards, which were then donated to a number of local food banks to cover the costs of providing holiday meals to numerous families within the community. 

Director of Student Activities, Carlos Perez-Cubas expressed how fundraisers like the "Dress Down Days" help students learn that while their individual contribution may be small, collectively, they can make a big difference for those in need. He said, "We need to teach the students to help others, especially the people in our community who are hurting."