“Tis’ the season for giving” as one might describe the holidays. Through all the hustle and bustle that accompanies the month of December, the fundamental concept of giving still remains a universal theme of Christmas, and one FBLA chapter was determined not to let Saint Nick be the only generous one.
Every year the Effingham County High School Future Business Leaders of America make it a priority to remember others during the holidays, but this year the chapter decided to raise the bar.
They started with promoting a canned and nonperishable food drive. Beginning on Dec. 5, the FBLA and the Beta Club encouraged students to bring in as many nonperishable food items as possible. An award of furnished breakfast would be given to the first period class that contributed the most.
Members from both sponsoring clubs went around the school and collected the items on Dec. 9 and again on Dec. 15. The organizations received more than 150 items, and the donated goods went to a local food pantry.
The FBLA chapter also stuck to another Christmas tradition with the annual Toys for Tots drive. The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program began in 1947, distributing toys to needy children across the country and still maintain the same goal today, “to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”
Members were encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to the Christmas social to donate to this notable charity. Several students offered their gifts to the cause and were happy they could help to make a child’s Christmas special.
“Christmas is about making others happy,” said ECHS FBLA parliamentarian Rajvi Dave. “I’m glad I could be a part of such a great project. It makes me happy to know that just one little toy will make a child very happy on Christmas.”
Along with the annual toy and food drives, the ECHS FBLA decided to venture into new areas of community service to spread the cheer of the holidays. The chapter partnered with the Effingham Victim and Witness Center to participate in the “Pack a Purse” program.
The victims of domestic abuse often feel they do not deserve to be pampered, so the center started this program to provide a bag full of luxury items such as combs, magazines, make-up, and bath products, just to name a few.
With this charity in mind, members of the ECHS organization brought what they could from their homes to donate to the cause. In total, the FBLA donated more than 15 bags to help those who’ve had a rough time recently.
The chapter also made Christmas cards for the residents of the local nursing home. The members signed and included special messages in 150 cards at their Christmas social.
That following Monday, three of the club officers went to the nursing home and passed those sentimental cards out to all the residents. Many were thrilled about the gifts and some even requested that the members read the card to them.
“Spreading the Christmas spirit to the nursing home was such an amazing experience,” said FBLA secretary Vanessa Williams. “It shows how much the smaller things are greatly appreciated. It was such an enjoyable moment.”
After distributing all the cards, the officers stuck around a little longer and participated in the nursing home’s daily exercises with them.
“Going to the nursing home was a different experience,” said FBLA treasurer Kelsey Fulford. “It was fun and their facial expressions when we were exercising, to me, felt like they were glad someone else was there besides the regular people. Most of them had smiles on their faces and there were a few that were laughing at us. I felt like I did something good, and it makes me want to go back and do it again.”