Students Spread Holiday Cheer
Imagine spending Christmas or Hanukkah without a roof over your head and no promise of a warm dinner or presents. Sadly, this is how many people spend their holidays. Thankfully, there are volunteers who help to make the holiday season a little brighter for those who are struggling to make ends meet. Among those volunteers are Pace students, who already devote dozens of hours to service every year. During the holidays, they go out of their way to give back to their communities.
Pace students are involved in many different types of holiday service programs with various functions and purposes.Sophomore Maddie Wanzer said that she participates in the Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas presents to children and seniors living in poverty. “Helping somebody in need is really rewarding, especially during the holidays,” said Maddie. Senior Katie Kibler said, “There is a halfway house run by my church and I go there and give out food on Thanksgiving.” Junior Madison Thorne “adopts” a family during the Christmas season, then cooks them a Christmas dinner and buys presents for the whole family. In addition, Madison volunteers at the Atlanta Community Food Bank during Thanksgiving and does Habitat for Humanity around Christmastime, an activity which she said “is incredibly cold, but it’s so great if we can get a family into their new home by Christmas.” Junior Maryse Lapu said, “During the holidays I like to give back and do something good by working at “Books for Africa,” which is a non-profit organization that collects books, packages them, and ships them to underprivileged children in Africa.” Some students do service that is a little out of the ordinary, such as Jenna Blumenthal, who said, “Last December my older brother and I handed out hamburgers to homeless people in downtown. I had a lot of fun because everybody was so grateful.”
If students are looking for ways to give back to the community during this holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. One of the easiest things to do is to collect canned food or dried goods for food drives. All you have to do is collect nonperishable food items and deliver them to a food bank, shelter, soup kitchen, or place of worship. Another great way to give back is through Santa Shop, which is a little more time and labor intensive. Sponsored by the NFCC (North Fulton Community Charities), volunteers meet at a warehouse and load donated Christmas presents into families’ cars. The presents range from bicycles to cribs to Gameboys, and all of them are given to children who will probably receive nothing else than what strangers have bought for them. Other places to volunteer include the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, Samaritan House, The Salvation Army, and many more. All of these organizations need help from volunteers, and working there is a great way to help somebody less fortunate have a nice holiday season.
By Natalie Camrud, Staff Writer ’12