ELMSFORD, N.Y. — While some people are buying clothes, a new iPhone or other items for themselves, Kasey Colucci of Elmsford is giving a Christmas present to someone she has never met.
Barely out of college, the 22-year-old sends $30 a month to a woman in the Philippines named Amelia, who uses the money for basic needs such as food and shelter. For the past two years, Colucci has been part of the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, a program that connects volunteers to sponsor a child or aging friend in need.
"I felt like the elderly often get overlooked," Colucci said of why she chose to help Amelia. "There's something about receiving a handwritten letter from someone, telling you how much you're changing their life — I never knew a sponsorship could be so personal."
Colucci, a graduate of Hackley High School in Tarrytown, started by sponsoring Fabiana — an 85-year-old woman from Guatemala who slept on a straw bed. After a year of exchanging letters and pictures, Colucci said she was heartbroken to learn that Fabiana had passed away.
"This was basically my grandmother in another country. I felt such a sense of loss," she said.
But Colucci was consoled by the knowledge that she brought Fabiana comfort during the last few months of her life and is able to do the same with Amelia.
A dollar a day doesn't amount to much — even at Colucci's first job out of college as a graphic designer. She encourages others to make donations to organizations such as the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging around the holidays, even if it's only a small amount.
"If you're willing to spend $50 or $100 for your family and friends, $30 is nothing. There are people out there that don't realize how much they could impact someone with something so small," she said. "You don't have to donate a lot to make a huge difference in somebody's life."