'Generous hearts': Shelton school donates coats to domestic violence center

SHELTON — The pandemic could not stop Holy Trinity Catholic Academy students from helping those in need this winter.

The HTCA Student Council collected more than 50 coats during its annual coat drive — and this year, through the inspiration of eighth-grader Grace Penn, the coats are being donated to The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services. The coats are going to the distribution center located at the Hope Family Justice Center in New Haven.

HTCA Head of School Lisa Lanni said Penn first offered her donation idea in October.

"I was wondering if there’s any way that we can have a coat drive and find a women and children center or a place for people who have gone or going through domestic violence and donate them,” Penn wrote to Lanni.

“It would really mean a lot to me if we could because … it’s really hard and sometimes parents can’t always afford to buy them their essential needs,” Penn added.

Lanni said, using Penn as an inspiration, the HTCA Student Council decided that this year’s donations would go to the Umbrella Center.

“We have collected more than 50 coats to donate to the women and children in need,” Lanni said. “Special thanks to Grace Penn for being so instrumental in the drive because of her kindness.”

HTCA holds a coat drive every year, and Carmine J. Rita, the school’s director of admissions and development, said with safety protocols in place and the cooperation of all our families, the coat drive was successful.

“Our students and families are always ready to help those in need — now more than ever because of these difficult times,” Rita said.

Rita said the school held its annual Thanksgiving drive in November for Spooner House, which was once again an overwhelming success, as was the toy drive for Christmas.

“HTCA is now planning to continue collecting for Spooner House for the rest of the school year to try and help them the best we can because of their increase in need,” Rita said. “The families of HTCA have generous hearts and always give when they are asked.”