Gingerbread Express Brings Gifts to Over 400 Students at D’Abate
The Gingerbread Express came to William D’Abate Elementary School on Thursday, Dec. 14, bringing bags of presents to every student at the K-5 school in Providence's Olneyville neighborhood.
D’Abate is a Swearer Center community partner of the Community Corps program, which provides opportunities for Brown students to engage with the greater Providence community alongside local organizations and residents through formal partnerships. At D’Abate, Community Corps students engage through the Swearer Classroom Program and Brown Elementary Afterschool Mentoring (BEAM) groups.
The Gingerbread Express event is sponsored by National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) Children's Fund and has been celebrated for over two decades. Every year, students make wishlists and each receive a personalized bag of presents.
In attendance were Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Providence Public Schools superintendent Christopher Maher, Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Ken Wagner and several members of the Providence City Council, including Acting Council President Sabina Matos and Councilman Michael Correia. Members of the D’Abate family were also in attendance, including William D’Abate Jr.
“The Gingerbread Express is a perfect reflection of the D’Abate family,” William D’Abate Elementary School Principal Brent Kermen said as he addressed students, teachers, administrators, staff and Providence community members in the school gym. Kermen’s sentiments spoke not only to the family whose generosity has supported the school for decades, but also of the community reflected in the event.
Providence Police Department officers Taylor Britto and Oscar Perez then read the tale of the Gingerbread Express in both English and Spanish. The tale ended by reminding students to keep with the giving spirit of the day: “The children made a special promise to be kind, to be courteous, and they made a special wish too: we wish, we wish, and we work and we play, that all children of the world will have a happy gingerbread day.”
Click the arrows above to scroll through photos from the event.