EAST BEND — As the last colorful leaves fall to the ground and temperatures begin to dip under freezing at night, many people in the community yearn for warm blankets, food, and personal hygiene supplies. This past Thanksgiving, most Americans took a moment or two to appreciate the plenitude of blessings that make their lives more comfortable; words of gratitude were uttered for the roofs over their heads, the sweaters on their bodies, and the food on their plates.
Thanksgiving is a prelude to the long and cold winter ahead, and it serves as a reminder that many people must make do without such luxuries. Over the next three weeks, Forbush High School students will unite to help provide care for the disadvantaged in the community, spreading gratitude and holiday cheer to everyone involved.
The Junior Civitan Club, a student-based service organization, recently completed a stocking drive in conjunction with the Salvation Army. Each member picked an age and gender and then filled a stocking with hygiene necessities, warm clothes, and toys corresponding to that demographic.
Member Anna Kathryn Kilby believes that the drives were effective because “it is not hard to get involved and they can help a wide audience.”
Stockings will be distributed to children in Yadkin County during the weeks leading up to Christmas. The Junior Civitan Club also is collecting coats to provide warmth to the community. Coats are being collected at home basketball games, and those interested were able to bring their contributions to the games at Forbush High School Dec. 20.
Perhaps the largest food drive Forbush High School sponsors, Friends Feeding Friends is a donation program where students can earn points by donating items like canned food, Ramen noodles, diapers, and toothpaste. Students often buy these items themselves, and it is not unheard of to ask dentists for donations of toothbrushes and toothpaste. Classes vie to have the honor of earning the most points; Angella Jordan’s classes consistently reach the top of the charts and are forces to be reckoned with.
Jordan inspires her classes to donate more through Friends Feeding Friends by expressing her belief that “it is the duty of those of us who are blessed to serve others.” Thousands of items are donated each year by Forbush High School, and the students are excited to donate more this year than ever before.
The holidays draw closer every day, and holiday spirit seems to be increasing exponentially. The excitement and passion of community service fills the hearts of Forbush High School students with warmth, just like drinking a steaming mug of hot chocolate or sitting by a crackling fire. Even better, community members in need are shown love and given comfort for the cold winter ahead. The students invite the community to join them in serving the community over these next several weeks, and indeed, for the rest of their lives.
Sierra Winters is a senior writer and photographer at Forbush High School.