Allendale Public School staff members give generously during this holiday season to support families and children who might have a difficult Christmas because of unemployment, unexpected bills, or just struggling to make ends meet. The Holiday Helpers program has been in existence for several years to provide gifts and needed supplies to those in need.
Deb DeLooff, Student Services Coordinator, and Bill Patteuw, Elementary Social Worker, are the program coordinators. In the first week of November, information is sent home in both English and Spanish to families. This year a total of 80 families requested help for the holidays. Of that number, Holiday Helpers were able to adopt 30 families with a total of 75 children. This was possible through a partnership of Evergreen/Springview/Oakwood staff, Body Language Dance Company, Allendale Township Library, and Allendale Love INC. The families that could not be served were referred to a Salvation Army program.
Approximately 225 gifts were purchased and donated for this effort. Today through Thursday, eligible families could “shop” for their children from the donated gifts. Adopted families will also receive a holiday meal from Love INC.
Another partnership with Grand Valley College of Community & Public Service Undergraduate Advising Center encouraged a collection of items used as gifts given to New Options High School students. Approximately 130 items ranging from health and beauty items to pajamas were donated. High school and middle school staff members were encouraged to donate to needy students by Val Sikma, Special Education Instructional Aide, who said, “Often the middle school and high school students don’t speak up for their needs, and they fall through the cracks.”
Thanks to all who partner together to make this season a little more bright for all of our children!