Half Hollow Hills Students Collect Holiday Gifts And Necessities For Local Families In Need
Students in Half Hollow Hills, from the kindergartners to the graduating seniors in the class of 2019, have been fundraising and running holiday gift drives to help local families in need. Different examples of service learning can be found at every building, but they all have the same goal: helping those that are less fortunate to have a happy holiday season.
At High School East, the Interact Club participated in the Sunshine Toy Drive and helped to collect toys for children up to age 16. After collecting the gifts, the club welcomed in parents to pick out toys for their children and helped them wrap the holiday presents. Students at Hills West in the Key Club held a very successful toy drive to benefit Toys for Tots, and members of the U.S. Marine Corp. thanked the students while picking up the donations.
Students from Candlewood and West Hollow middle schools in the Rising Stars program came together for a holiday event that included a service learning project where they created 275 “blessing bags” of household necessities that will be donated to the Family Service League and Madonna Heights. The West Hollow Middle School cheerleaders supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation this holiday season through the annual Macy’s ‘Believe’ letter writing campaign. For each of the 13,241 letters to Santa that the cheerleaders encouraged their peers to write, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, to help grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses. High School West and Candlewood Middle School students Ashley Kalb and sisters Morgan & Marissa Mandel ran their 3rd annual Teen Promise holiday gift card collection, raising $2,000 in gift cards to help provide meaningful age-appropriate holiday gifts to teens that are fighting illnesses at the Cohen’s Medical Center.
First graders at Sunquam Elementary School used their holiday parties as a chance to invite their families in to help them decorate scarves that will be donated to visitors at the Mercy Inn Soup Kitchen in Wyandanch, while their 5th grade counterparts at Vanderbilt Elementary School created special holiday cards to be sent with care packages to our U.S. military service members who are overseas and will not be with their families for the holidays. As part of their holiday food drive, the student council at Paumanok Elementary School went grocery shopping with their advisors and parent chaperones to purchase food for community members in need.
The staff and faculty at Otsego Elementary School held their annual Smiles Upon Smiles program, where staff members anonymously fulfilled gift requests written on snowmen by families in the school that needed a little help this time of year. Similarly, at Signal Hill Elementary School students and their families donated over 300 gifts to fulfill gift needs that were written on mittens by 24 families in the school community that needed some assistance.
“Each year I look forward to seeing the creative and meaningful ways that our students and staff help those in need during the holiday season,” said Dr. Patrick Harrigan, superintendent of schools in Half Hollow Hills. “These service learning projects not only benefit important causes, but also help our students learn the importance of volunteering and giving back to their community.”