The Gift of Giving Back

Students help the less fortunate for this holiday season

Eliana Castro
Packaging more gift boxes, seniors Eliana Castro and Adia Diaz and freshman Keagan Wright prepare toy boxes for kids in need through Operation Christmas Child.

As the holidays creep closer, more local places open their doors to the community, presenting members with opportunities to give back.
The National Honor Society hosts major holiday events for the community to give back during the holiday season. With the holiday season if full swing, the society has already hosted one of their major events.

“We did have Stuff the Bus,” said National Honor Society sponsor Melanie Blakeney. “We successfully raised over 1,000 cans of food, which tallied up to over 900 pounds of food. We donated food to the Fauquier Food Bank, which will be spread all across the county.”

The NHS came in 3rd in the county, beat only by Auburn Middle School and Liberty High School, with 1,015 items. NHS is also hosting Shop with a Cop, a program supported by the local Sheriff’s department. It allows for police officers to take a child with an incarcerated parent out shopping for Christmas presents.

Shop with a Cop continues to bring joy for many kids across the county and this year hopes are high for a great turn out. The children who participate in the program are given approximately $150 and are paired with a police officer to shop for gifts with. The program is always looking for more volunteers, students are encouraged to bag or wrap the gifts that children purchase.
NHS is also planning an outing to Christmas carol at Overlook, a nursing home in Fauquier.

“Our students have gone caroling there and we are looking forward to do so again this year. We would appreciate [it if] students could come and volunteer to do this with us,” said National Honor Society sponsor Sharon Krasny.

This year holds a new program within NHS; a mentoring program. The mentors are to construct service-based activities with their mentees. They need to complete at least one activity in the fall semester and one in the spring.

Another ongoing event that NHS has planned for this year is having students create cards for the veterans, those being Thank You, Veterans and Holiday cards.

“Our goal is to reach over 1,000 cards by the end of this school year to give to the American Legion motorcade of motorcycles that shows up at our school in May.” said Krasny

Samaritan’s Purse has a great program all across the country, made especially for ways to give back in the holiday season. The program, Operation Christmas Child, is all about giving to children, who may not be able to get gifts during the holidays.

“Operation Christmas Child was put on through my church, Greenwich Presbyterian and it lasted pretty much all through November.” said junior Harper Crater. “In the past my church has put together over 400 boxes and worldwide there was somewhere in the millions collected.” said Crater.

Each participant of the organization is given a shoebox and fills it with toys or hygiene items for children who are in need. Each participant is to specify on the outside of the boxes what gender and age group the box was put together for, in order for the organization to better match kids and boxes together.

“It took place the day before Thanksgiving, in a warehouse in Maryland.” said sophomore Laura Thompson. “You can come to the warehouse and pack shoe boxes full of toys and other gifts, or you can donate money and toys, which is what most people do.”

“The boxes go to children who would otherwise not have gifts on christmas morning all across the world.” said Crater. “I’m really glad I had the opportunity to participate and give back even just a little bit.”

This year the sophomore class SCA is in charge orchestrating the Toys for Tots drive, Sponsor Lisa Heckathorn and Sophomore Class President Madison Serttas have been working hard to make sure students bring in donations of unwrapped toys to donate to kids in need. The drive runs from November 27 to December 11.

“Students can bring in new toys for kids whose parents cannot afford to get them gifts this holiday season.” said Serttas. “The collection boxes are located in the Office, Library and outside the SCA Sponsors rooms.”

Additionally, on December 12, from 3-4PM DECA and FBLA will be performing Christmas carols and will bring in treats made for some senior citizens at The Villas at Suffield Meadows. Although this is a DECA/FBLA project, Mr. Frazier and other sponsors are encouraging any and all students to join in spending some time with our community.
These are just some of the many ways that the community can give back to others during the holiday season.