Students and staff at Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way North high schools are busy playing Santa Claus this holiday season, purchasing gifts for families in need.
“It’s nice for everyone to pitch in and get things for families who are less fortunate,” said Lincoln-Way East senior James von Albade.
“It’s nice to do something for someone,” added Lincoln-Way North senior Serena Shoff.
Students at East “adopted” 35 local families this year and purchased items on their wish lists, including toys, winter clothing and gift cards to grocery stores and gas stations.
Over at North, Key Club members decided to make scarves for the homeless while Varsity Club members made blankets for children’s hospitals and the Student Council Executive Board reached out to families affected by domestic violence by purchasing toys for families receiving assistance from the Crisis Center of South Suburbia.
“We do a lot of projects through the year (as a student body),” said student council President Alex Partekel, explaining how the executive board wanted to branch out during the holidays and do something special as a group.
“We wanted to do something smaller and more personal,” she added. “The Crisis Center is a great cause.”
Each of the school’s 16 executive board members contributed $15 to $20 to purchase board games, Lego sets and Barbie dolls for children at the Crisis Center for South Suburbia.
At East, many of the families “adopted” by the students and staff requested basic necessities, such as food and toilet paper, said Lincoln-Way East teacher Betsy VandenBerg.
But students and staff made sure they received some fun items as well by purchasing age-appropriate toys and clothing for the kids as well as gift cards for mom and/or dad.
Student Activities Coordinator Ali Jakubek stretched their dollars by shopping for bargains on Black Friday with eight students and several parent chaperones,
“Wherever there were Black Friday deals, we went,” she said. “We took their (wish) lists and added things that we thought they would like. It was really fun.”
The Lincoln-Way East math department even took care of the family dog, purchasing gift cards to PetSmart as well as a one-year wellness care program for the pooch.
“We have a lot of pet lovers in our department,” said math department chair Jeff Keller.