By Neal Buccino, Media Relations Staff
Each year, the Port Authority’s Staten Island Bridges staff members – those who ensure safe operations at the Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing – mobilize as a single unit to raise the spirits of those less fortunate during the holiday season through the Giving Tree.
This year’s Giving Tree effort committed to collecting gifts for a group of adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, in affiliation with the ARC of Somerset County. The six individuals, ranging in age from 56 to 75, requested gifts as simple as a large winter coat, queen-size sheets, and DVDs of the “Despicable Me” movies. Last year, the project brought cheer to two large families in transitional housing who wished for holiday gifts for themselves and their children – books, clothes, a bicycle.
Each year, this holiday effort is led by a determined toll supervisor named Lindia Creighton. A 29-year agency veteran who rotates among the three Staten Island bridge facilities, Creighton has a passion for helping those in need. Throughout the year, she regularly volunteers at a soup kitchen and collects clothes and other goods for donation through a faith organization in Perth Amboy, N.J.
A few years ago, Creighton’s altruistic spirit began to inspire her Port Authority colleagues. As Olga Krueger, the Staten Island Bridges’ Assistant General Manager, noted, “While some people complain about the state of the world, Lindia actually does something about it.”
For several years, Creighton’s colleagues donated gently used clothing and other household goods to support her charity work. Since last year, however, virtually the entire staff has joined forces to donate through the Giving Tree as well as making cash donations to support the soup kitchen and the “Toys for Tots” program” of the Port Authority Police Department Marine Corps.
This year, they raised about $2,000 in gifts and cash for the individuals served by the ARC of Somerset County and the Toys for Tots program. Creighton spoke about the deep emotions she feels in providing each year’s gifts to those who needed them.
“In many ways, these individuals and families feel forgotten,” Creighton said. “When you meet them and see how deep their needs are – and how much these gifts mean to them – it really is amazing. You can see that the help we’re giving is meaningful.”