Stevenson students step up to help needy families with Give-A-Thon
Stevenson High School senior Sam Sussman's a bit too tall to be one of Kriss Kringle's elves, but he certainly was full of holiday spirit Tuesday morning as he staffed a station for the school's annual Give-A-Thon.
Wearing a bright red shirt and a Santa cap, Sussman cheerily directed students with bags and boxes filled with gifts and canned goods to the appropriate collection points in the Lincolnshire school's Wood Commons.
"Family stuff goes over there," the Buffalo Grove teen said before sorting a large box filled with jam and jelly jars. "I'll take food and baby items."
Run by Stevenson's National Honor Society, the 30th annual Give-A-Thon produced toys and clothes for 293 families, a record for the school. The kids also collected food for the Vernon Township Food Pantry and baby-related merchandise for Lake County PADS, which helps homeless people and families.
The gifts will be taken to a Catholic Charities of Lake County site in Waukegan. That organization will distribute the presents to the intended recipients, who provided wish lists.
Some students raised money to buy gifts through bake sales and other efforts.
Michelle McInerney helped collect and organize the presents Tuesday. Although they came wrapped, she and her fellow teens could tell what many of the packages contained.
"There's a lot of soccer balls and skateboards," the senior from Buffalo Grove said.
A corral of donated bicycles stood in the middle of the Wood Commons, growing larger by the hour. Students also delivered a lot of winter coats, scarves and gloves.
Sophomore Dina Gleyzer delivered a bag of gaily wrapped presents. Most of the items were toys and clothes for the children in the family she selected.
"And we gave the mom a gift card," said Gleyzer, of Buffalo Grove.
All of the gifts and sundries will be loaded into trucks Wednesday morning and driven to the appropriate destinations.
Gleyzer said participating in the charity drive "feels amazing."
"We are so lucky to have what we have," she said. "So to be able to help somebody who doesn't is really rewarding."