They brought gifts of clothing, food and holiday cheer.
And along with their service came the vital lessons on giving and the high marks of jobs well done.
In the weeks leading to the holiday break, Midlands area schools demonstrated the true meaning of the season with a variety of outreach efforts that targeted the poor, the homeless, the military and many others in the community.
A sampling of some of the activities:
Meanwhile, Spring Valley High student Grace Smith prepared 61 hand-knitted hats and gave them to Family Connection of South Carolina to help support the families of children with special health care needs. The items are being given to newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
Smith spent more than 150 hours knitting the hats that are being distributed during the holidays.
“It makes me really happy to know we can make the families happy,” Grace said.
At Ridge View High, students collected 15,000 non-perishable goods to benefit local charities including God’s Storehouse. The school plans to sponsor 65 foster children from the S.C. Department of Social Services and raise $1,500 for Harvest Hope Food Bank.
Nine Lexington-Richland 5 schools created and sent more than 1,000 holiday cards to military members as part of the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Since 2006 more than 4 million holiday cards have been delivered to members of the armed forces through the outreach.
Participating Lexington-Richland 5 schools included Ballentine, Chapin, H. E. Corley, Irmo, Lake Murray and Oak Pointe elementary schools, Chapin and Irmo middle schools and Irmo High.
While helping the students show their support of the military, the project also was intended to help them understand the sacrifices of the military and the importance of service to others.
Students in Lexington-Richland 5’s Math Matters classes wrapped up a semester-long learning service effort during which they designed, constructed and sold clocks to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the district’s Back Pack Program, which provides food for students in need over the weekend.
The effort generated more than $2,000 for the two charities.
Students in the Kershaw County School District collected more than $11,000 for area charities as part of the district’s Holiday Hopes program.
The benefitting charities included Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation, Community Christian Ministries, Mt. Moriah Soup Kitchen and Lugoff First Baptist Angel Tree.
The donations also were used to buy a heater for a student in the district and to help pay the family’s utility bill.