Students participate in holiday outreach

By Madeline Pena | Published Wednesday, December 26, 2012

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This holiday season, Decatur High School found ways to help kids from 1 to 92.

On Dec. 17, the local police department picked up around 100 toys from DHS and will donate them to families this Christmas Eve.

“This drive actually supports all the police departments in Wise County that operate Santa-Cop,” principal secretary Susie Benedick said. “They interview families and find out who is in need of Christmas presents, and then they find the toys that best match each family and distribute them.”

The drive not only allows children to experience the surprise of Christmas morning, but also alleviates some of the Christmas shopping stress for local families.

“I think this gives kids an opportunity to have their own gifts on Christmas,” Benedick said. “It takes away an extra financial burden, and parents can put their money toward something else.”

Organizations such as NHS provided students with an incentive to donate by giving them an hour of community service.

“I just hope that my gift brightens someone’s Christmas morning a little bit,” NHS member Mallory Miller, a junior, said. “It makes me feel good to give to others because I feel like I have helped them out some.”

Benedick views these services as not only a way to give, but a family tradition.

“Every year, we as a family adopt an angel,” she said. “We know it helps someone, and it makes you feel good.”

The Spanish National Honor Society (SNHS) also served the community by singing Spanish Christmas carols at The Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Dec. 16.

“I think it’s nice to visit people in nursing homes this holiday season,” senior and SNHS president Hannah Alling said. “Most of them aren’t able to get out much, so it’s good for them to see young faces.”

In the late afternoon, the SNHS members sang Christmas carols, passed out candy canes and visited with residents of the nursing home.

“I think it was nice for them just to have some Christmas spirit because I think a lot don’t get any Christmas cheer but decorations,” SNHS member and junior Laura Nicholson said.

Alling believes community outreach should be a year-round job.

“During the holiday season, people tend to think more about what they can do to help the community,” she said. “I think it should be thought about more often; I don’t think this time is different from any other time.”

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