By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Pinkerton Academy students in need got a big holiday boost this year. They received help from the school’s staff and faculty.
Pinkerton registrar Nancy Cofrin led the effort, as she has done for many years, to help students who may be homeless or struggling.
“We had close to 100 people this year,” she said.
Cofrin, a veteran staff member for 39 years, has taken on the mission to help those at school she comes in contact with throughout the year and make sure their holidays are bright.
Many of the students are in difficult situations.
Some are officially homeless. Others have spent time living with friends, relatives or just “couch surfing,” according to Cofrin.
She comes in contact with students as part of her job and she knows the ones who are hurting most.
“This time of year, it’s sad,” she said. “We raise money for Christmas, we raise money for food, but it’s an all-year-round thing.”
Cofrin said the Pinkerton community is extremely generous. Clubs and organizations work hard to raise money to support the cause, as do school departments and faculty.
Students who learn to give are gaining valuable lessons, she said.
“It’s giving back and it’s part of the process,” she said. “It’s also a teaching tool.”
With her list in hand, Cofrin headed to the Kohl’s store in Bedford to do her holiday shopping.
The list of items to buy was long, so she checked out three times while at the store.
Most of the items are the ones that people need most — clothing, shoes, boots, warm gloves.
“Every kid gets at least two outfits, a coat, shoes or boots,” Cofrin said.
The gifts also include school supplies and a backpack.
Cofrin got an added holiday boost when she received a special Kohl’s promotional gift for being the store’s “dream” customer during her shopping trip. That gift amounted to saving nearly $500 on her purchases.
“It was awesome, everyone in the store was clapping,” Cofrin said.
She said the need increases every year.
“It’s a lot of work, but we get to see their faces,” she said. “It makes it all worth it.”