Exton Region Chamber of Commerce

Holiday Hope Chest Event Helps Collegium Charter School Families Experiencing Financial Hardships

December 12, 2022
Written by: ercc-marketing
Left To Right: Maureen Wilkins, Patty Knecht, Duane Knecht, and Natalie Corcimiglia.

Exton, PA: On Friday, December 9th, Collegium Charter School (CCS) hosted its first
Holiday Hope Chest (HHC) event. HHC is an interactive event where CCS students and
volunteers create a shopping experience for select families in the Collegium Community currently experiencing financial hardships.

The goals for this special event were to receive enough item donations to provide holiday gifts for CCS students and their siblings and raise monetary donations to purchase additional gifts not secured through item donations. CCS families in need then used their allotment of HHC Dollars to buy new toys, clothes, etc., as holiday gifts for their children.

The CCS High School’s Student Council members shopped for children’s gift items by using the monetary donations for the event. One student volunteer shared, “It was a gift to give to others.” Another said, “It was rewarding to shop for the kids, and I hope they enjoy what their parents chose.”

“It was so exciting to assist in facilitating a program helping CCS families on such a
large scale,” said Maureen Wilkins, Collegium’s Director of Student Services. “Working
alongside Duane and Patty Knecht from HHC and our Community Connection Squad
was phenomenal. But providing holiday gifts to close to 100 CCS families–representing
almost 200 children–is truly my most rewarding and inspiring experience at Collegium in my 20 years as an employee. It reminds me how giving and generous our CCS
Community is and how lucky I am to be a part of that community!”

Since 2002, HHC has run its unique, interactive shopping experience in Chester County
for families in need. They had four annual events across the county and accepted CCS
as their fifth event. Their goal is to serve over 500 families in Chester County this year,
and CCS will represent close to 100 of those families.

“HHC has been an opportunity to see the generosity of the community, people,
agencies, and companies coming together to spread some holiday cheer and goodwill
that directly benefits our Collegium families,” said Natalie Corcimiglia, Collegium’s
Social Worker and Mental Health Therapist. “I am blessed to be a part of this positive

About Collegium Charter School
Established in 1999, Collegium Charter School is a tuition-free, independent K-12 public
charter school offering families a choice for their children’s elementary and secondary
education. Enrollment is open to any student who resides in Pennsylvania. Most
Collegium families reside in Chester County’s West Chester, Downingtown, and
Coatesville Area School Districts. For more information, visit www.collegiumcharter.com.


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