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updated: 11/22/2010 5:46 PM

Stevenson High collecting gifts for families

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Stevenson High School students and faculty are boosting their goal for the annual holiday gift drive, officials said Monday.

The Lincolnshire school's Give-A-Thon will aim to provide holiday gifts for 280 families, about 80 more than originally planned, according to a news release.

Increased involvement by teachers and teens has allowed organizers to help more families, the release said.

"The 280 figure is the highest I can recall," school spokesman Jim Conrey said. "We ended up getting a lot more interest than was first expected."

Families are selected for the school effort by the Lake County branch of Catholic Charities.

The Give-A-Thon is about more than holiday gifts, however. A food drive benefiting the Vernon Township food pantry also is part of the effort.

Organizers hope to collect enough food to stock the pantry for six months.

Volunteers are collecting baby supplies for a local homeless-assistance center, too. Diapers, baby formula and other items are needed.

Give-A-Thon participation isn't limited to Stevenson staffers and students.

Anyone can donate money by going to the Stevenson High web store,, and clicking on the Give-A-Thon link on the left side of the main page.

Visitors to the site can choose if they want to assist the baby-supply drive, the food collection or the gift drive.

The Give-A-Thon launched in 1985, started by the Spanish club. It is now run by the National Honor Society.

It's one of the biggest fundraisers of the year, both in terms of student and teacher involvement and donations, Conrey said.

The deadline for online donations is Dec. 17.