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|December 24, 2009
Director of Communications
Bristol County Probate & Family Probation Employees
Outfit New Bedford Children With Winter Gear This Christmas
Recipient of Gloria Arruda's Charity Drive
Thanks to the generosity of Bristol County Probate and Family Court Probation employees, 150 New Bedford children--ages one through 16–– have been gifted with warm hats, scarves, gloves, and mittens to stay warm during the season’s coldest temperatures which are expected to last through Christmas.
The winter gear was collected during a Christmas Charity Drive spearheaded by Gloria Arruda, a 34–year Probation Operations Manager in the Probation Department. Arruda began running Xmas charity drives 11 years ago in place of the employee present swap.
“It’s my pleasure to do it. I get a kick out of helping people,” she said.
Arruda added, “It started with us (probation department colleagues) buying things for each other. Then, we decided we don’t need anything.”
The donated items were delivered to the Salvation Army of New Bedford this week. It was recently retired Probation employee Sue Parish, now a volunteer at the Salvation Army, who suggested the idea to Arruda.
“I learned through Sue that there was a big shortage of these items last year—a real need,” Arruda said. “My co-workers here at the court and my colleagues from the Fall River and New Bedford sites also contributed. We even collected some jackets and pajamas for the children.”
Acting Chief Probation Officer Carl Cruz said of Arruda’s efforts, “It is a pleasure that under the leadership of Gloria Arruda that we can again as a family court reach out into the community to touch and help so many families in need.”
Salvation Army Advisory Board member Betty Ussach, a local attorney, said thanks to Arruda and her Probation colleagues, local children will have warm hats, gloves, and scarves to ward off the frigid temperatures.
“In years past, the Salvation Army has provided toys, food, clothing, and books. We discovered that one of the things that the children desperately need are hats, gloves, and scarves,” Ussach said. “When the families came to pick up the items, we saw just how much they needed this warm outerwear for their children and how delighted they were to receive it.”
She added, “We owe the success of this drive to Sue Parish’s mention to Gloria Arruda of the need of these children and Gloria’s work. Thank goodness for this effort.”
A New Bedford native, Arruda has focused her charity efforts on local families and children.
In years past, Arruda has launched charity drives that have benefited hundreds of children and families. One year, she collected grocery gift cards which were distributed to New Bedford senior citizens who were struggling to make their social security checks last.
Another year, she led a holiday drive for a young boy stricken with cancer. The child’s parents, struggling to pay the boy’s medical expenses, had little left for Christmas presents. Arruda and her court colleagues focused their charity efforts on recently immigrated Guatemalan families — providing toys for the children.