Jamestown's Creche has been caring for area children for more than 100 years, and one of those former children recently found a way to give back.
A 90-year-old Jamestown resident made a donation to Creche to thank to the organization that helped his family in the early 1920s.
Anthony Guiffrida, a son of Italian immigrants who settled in Jamestown, gave $100 to Creche for providing care for him and his family when he was a child.
Pictured are Florence Cass, former president of Creche; Letha Adelman, Creche public relations chair; Anthony Guiffrida, of Jamestown; and Melanie Gritters, current president of Creche.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
Since both of Guiffrida's parents had to work, they entrusted the care of their children to Creche's Day Nursery that was located within walking distance of their home and employers. The day care not only offered all-day care, but also fed the children for 10 cents a day.
"There were six kids in the family, and we lived at 18 Institute St. alongside the senior high school," said Guiffrida. "Creche Day Nursery was a big building next to the church on Third Street. I don't know how my folks ever got connected with Creche because they were immigrants who came here in 1910. In those days everything was about the community in the neighborhood, and they would rely on one another. When a woman would give birth one of the neighbors would baby-sit and take care of the child. So, my oldest brother and my older sister were taken care of by the neighbors. But, my three sisters and I started going to Creche when my parents went to work."
Guiffrida's father worked for Empire Case Goods furniture manufacturer on Foote Avenue, and his mother worked at Hall and Company woolen mill on Harrison Street.
"My mother had to go to work earlier than my father, so I remember my dad carrying me to Creche," said Guiffrida. "They would take care of you up until you were about 5 years old. There were about 20 kids that were going there that lived close enough to walk. They would take care of us all day and they would feed us. They served us food like corn flakes which we didn't eat at home, so it was my first American breakfast. And, when we were old enough to go to kindergarten they would walk us to Love Elementary School."
According to Melanie Gritters, current president of Creche, the biannual rummage sales held by Creche were preceded by a thrift store that raised funds to help children care for by Creche's Day Nursery.
"These children were in a day nursery because they had working parents," said Gritters. "When the nursery closed during the depression, the rummage sales continued to help children who were undernourished.
"We appreciate the donation because it links our history from the past to the present, and it shows that in all this time we're still helping needy children. We're going to use that money to help the needy children here."
One of the main fundraisers for Creche is the rummage sale that is held twice a year, in May and October, at First Congregational Church of Jamestown.
"It serves both purposes by allowing us to raise money to provide families with care, and at the same time it is an outreach to the community that they can come to us for quality household items and clothing," said Letha Adelman, Creche public relations chair.
Another way that Creche helps area children is through a campership program.
"We realize that not all families can afford to send their children to camp," said Adelman. "So, by working with area schools we identify a child who would benefit."
Creche is also a supporter of WCA Hospital. According to Adelman, Creche began as an organization while sewing for infants, children and pediatrics.
"We still try to provide things of need for WCA Hospital," said Adelman. "Recently when WCA Hospital opened their new ER they identified a list of items that they needed, and we provided them with supplies that children could use while waiting."
Backpacks, school supplies, cribs, clothing, Christmas gifts are other items in which Creche provides to area families. According to the organization's official website, crecheforkids.org, each year Creche spends over $25,000 to support youth.