Students volunteer to open cards for Sa’fyre Terry

A group of Union students poses in front of a Union shuttle bus after volunteering through the Kenney Community Center to open cards and gifts sent to Sa’fyre Terry, 8, of Schenectady, after her wish for Christmas cards went viral this holiday season. Terry was the victim of arson, losing much of her family in a fire that left 70 percent of her body burned. (Courtesy of Capital Region Toys for Tots)

On Saturday, Jan. 16, via the efforts of the Kenney Community center, a few Union students were able to volunteer to assist local arson survivor Sa’fyre Terry open the mail she received after a social media post went viral this past Christmas.

Terry, 8, who suffered burns on 70 percent of her body in the fire that killed her family, wished to fill her card tree with Christmas cards this year, and surprisingly, people reached out to her from all around the world.

About 15 student volunteers were driven to a warehouse where long tables had been set up. Each volunteer was tasked to open envelopes; sort cards based on whether they were postcards or regular cards; and put money, gift cards, toys and other gifts in a separate area.

To make the atmosphere lively, if a volunteer opened a card filled with glitter or confetti, they were encouraged to throw it up in the air.

Volunteers sharing their experiences said they opened cards from all around the world, including France, Switzerland and Australia, to name only a few.

Union student William Garner ’18 stated, “The work was relaxing and interesting. Before we knew it, we had to leave. We did not get to meet Terry, but we were content knowing that so many people had written to her and that we as volunteers had done our little part in helping her, as well.”



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