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updated: 12/16/2010 6:06 PM

District 76 holiday drive exceeds expectations

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  • West Oak Middle School students stuffed teddy bears and decorative pillows as part of the District 76 holiday drive.

      West Oak Middle School students stuffed teddy bears and decorative pillows as part of the District 76 holiday drive.
    Elise Hauptman

Elise Hauptman

For over one month, students and staff at the three schools in the Diamond Lake School District contributed to a community service drive, donating nonperishable food, hygiene items, warm weather clothing, and toys.

Children brought items to school, parents dropped off supplies during school programs, and staff members were integral to keeping the momentum going, bringing in their own donations.

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When the holiday drive was initiated two years ago, 53 families were helped. With more families facing economic struggles, the district was hopeful that 80 families would be helped this year. Instead Principal Chris Willeford marveled that 103 district families would celebrate a brighter holiday season thanks to the support of community members.

Retired West Oak Middle School teacher Dianna Uzzel sewed over 500 items, including fleece blankets, hats, and teddy bears. During a community service afternoon staff and students then filled the shells to create new teddy bears for children and fabric pillows for the home. Finishing touches were put on scarves, hats, and blankets. The West Oak bands and choir recorded a CD and made copies for each family.

When all of the items were gathered students from the Diamond Lake School Student Council went to West Oak to help sort donated items and pack boxes for distribution. Holiday music and high spirits accompanied all of the volunteers as they worked to help others.

The Diamond Lake School District community is grateful to the following companies for their support in this year's successful drive: the Target stores in Mundelein and Vernon Hills, Toms Price Furnishing, La-Z-Boy Furniture, Walmart Lake Zurich, and Ethan Allen in Skokie.

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