The Eagle's Eye

Students, staff give back to the community through donation

School organizations contribute to charities, homeless students to celebrate holiday season

Ruben Nava, Staff Writer

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The holiday season is known as one of the biggest times of the year for charitable giving in the United States and the same is true at Akins. Many clubs and organizations on campus come together each holiday season to give back to their community.

Staff and students alike have been working beyond regular school hours to provide for and help students who are in need. There are various efforts to collect winter clothing, toys and even food for students and their families who cannot afford these items on their own.

The two groups of people that have been playing a huge role in helping homeless families or students in major need have been Student Support Services and Toni Holder.

The Student Support Services office has been focusing on taking care of the homeless students at Akins.

“We are doing a combination of things such as the Coats for Kids (drive) and different Christmas present programs along with different churches and people who are willing to donate,” social worker Colleen Arnold said.

Student Support Services has also coordinated efforts to provide gift bags for homeless students that included clothing and snacks. Arnold said that many of these items are provided at other times of the year as well, but it’s especially important to give these supplies out during winter break when students are away from campus for a longer period of time.

Student groups like Student Council and the National Honor Society are also helping out with charitable giving projects this holiday season. NHS is volunteering at Merry Memories, an event in which volunteers give out goodie bags and toys to families and children, along with having games and music.

“We volunteered at the Chuy’s Parade over Thanksgiving break and we’re doing Operation Santa, which is giving gifts to kids who don’t or can’t necessarily get gifts,” said Saba Naiyer, president of National Honor Society.

Parent Support Specialist Toni Holder also helped take care of homeless students and Akins families in need by giving out free turkeys for Thanksgiving. She said this is usually at the request of parents.

“I have a lot of parents that come through the office or they call me and say ‘Hey, I don’t think we’re going to have a very good Thanksgiving. Do you have any resources?’” Holder said.

Holder said she loves being able to help these students and families out, saying it motivates her work in reaching out to parents. The means for this comes from a group of donors and churches that Holder works closely with. She was able to help 175 families over Thanksgiving break. Holder said she also plans to give out gift cards to students in need for the winter holidays.

Her current plan for the holidays is to give out packages with necessities to 46 families. She also has gift cards ranging from $25 – $200 to give to families. These gift cards can be used for clothing and food to help families over the winter break.

“I’m a huge motivator to myself and I try to motivate everyone else to help,” she said.

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