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Holiday Hearts, Doing Our Part

Alyssa Mayo, Staff Writer

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Students Find Opportunities to Give Back this Holiday Season

Waking up Christmas morning with a six foot lit up tree and mile-high stacks of boxes that vary in size is a luxury only a portion of students at LHS get to experience each year. For many, images, memories and the mere connotation of Christmas brings good memories, time with loved ones and a stress free hiatus from the grind of life as a high school students. Yet for others, the holiday season can serve as a reminder of financial hardship.

As an attempt to minimize the amount of families who experience these holiday hardships, several programs and organizations throughout the school organize charities, drives, and donations. These holiday season events serve as a means for students to not only recognize their own privilege, but to use it to give back to the community.

Everyone can collectively agree that on Christmas, the most thrilling gifts to unwrap were brand new toys. In order to increase the amount of children that get the opportunity to feel that same enlivening feeling, Toys for Tots boxes are given to PACs.

Toys for Tots does not ask for donations of any specific brands or types of toy; the goal is to provide parents with toys to put under the tree for their young ones. Because some parents have to use their money to focus on buying necessities for the family, Toys for Tots ensures that our community can help to give them toys to open as well.

To motivate students to participate, Lindbergh creates a competition between PACs to see who can bring in the most gifts. Some PACs did really well while others failed to contribute at all. Steve Banning’s (science department) PAC has won in years past and was able to experience that satisfying joy.

“It was all them [the student’s doing]. I had different students at the time, and they were a great group. They were all willing to bring a lot of items in for the donation,” Banning said.

Although a Christmas without toys under the tree might be incomprehensible to some of us, to others it’s their reality. Toys for Tots is a broad, general donation to minimize the amount of children who might have to wonder why Santa forgot their house.

In addition to Toys for Tots, several groups sponsor a donation program that has a more personal connection and direct impact to a chosen family: Adopt-a-Family. For those who grew up in the district, this donation is one we are very familiar with. A group of students will bring in items ranging from household necessities such as toilet paper, soap or socks to toys on a wish list such as dolls, small cars, or board games.

National Honors Society sponsor, Miranda Gelven (Honors Coordinator) has been helping sponsor this drive for several years and has been able to experience what it has been like to help these families in need.

It’s easy to forget how much we are able to have access to due to our family’s’ income because we’ve been conditioned to it our whole lives. We hear stories about the less fortunate and we are told that we are helping by bringing small items in. The truth is, it’s almost hard to fathom the difference we make.

“Last year a thank you note was received from a family who was so appreciative of the kindness of our Lindbergh community. They expressed their happiness and that because of the donations they received that they were able to purchase their family a Christmas tree,” Gelven said.

The families that we are helping are usually Lindbergh families; the person who needs help this season might be the quiet boy who sits next to you in Algebra or that one girl in Psychology. Something as small as a toy or a gift card to Target might not mean anything to you, but to a different family that means everything.

As the Lindbergh school district continues to evolve and enlarge, so do the ways we reach out. This year, Annie Watson (11) brought Operation Christmas Child to FCA.

“You pack a shoebox full of different school supplies and toys and goodies for kids in third world countries who otherwise wouldn’t get any Christmas presents. It’s super cool to watch because they’ve never gotten presents before and most of them don’t have parents,” Watson said.

Being a Christian based organization, FCA’s motivation to donate and collect these gifts were religion based. Despite the fact that it was their first time trying this out, it was very successful for the group.

“It’s a Christian organization so for a lot of these kids it’s the first time they are hearing the word of God and it totally changes their life. It only costs someone like 10 dollars to make a difference like this. As a group we were able to make 15 boxes and that was amazing to me,” Watson said.

Several of our clubs and organizations are getting involved to give aid to those in need during the holiday season, but you can help too. Despite the fact that the end of the holiday season is nearing, you can still give back.

Year round we have access to food drives sponsored by several organizations in our community (e.g Arnold Food Pantry, St. Anthonys) as an opportunity to support families in need. We can also get involved through drives sponsored by the Salvation Army, who provides several services to the less fortunate such as cure diseases, cure hunger, fight human trafficking, minimize domestic abuse, and much more.

It doesn’t have to be the holiday season to give back. People around the country and around the world need our help year round. We are constantly surrounded by people who need our help, but don’t always ask for it.

In our community, there are so many ways to begin to give back. The Salvation Army has several drop off locations and is not just a holiday time drive. The Salvation Army works to cure disease and hunger, overcome povery, fight against domestic abuse and human trafficking, and so many more goals. We also have access to a Goodwill donation drop off center to give back our resources that we don’t need anymore and someone else can highly benefit from.

Any effort that we can make to put others before our selves can make such a big difference. We may not be able to experience
the impact of our efforts first hand, but that doesn’t change the fact that by giving back, we could be granting someone the opportunity to have access to things they never have.

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