High school students give more than the holiday spirit to Salvation Army families.
Lawrence High School students dug into their pockets for spare change, and came up with Christmas.
They adopted 30 families through the Salvation Army Adopt-A-Family program, and Wednesday delivered presents, gift certificates and groceries to the Salvation Army, 946 N.H.
"This is very much a whole school effort," said LHS teacher Linda Clark. "It gives everybody a chance to participate in holiday giving."
The program is set up through the student council, but all students have an opportunity to donate items or money through their first-hour classes. Each class decided if it wanted to adopt a family, and smaller classes joined together in the effort, Clark said.
"It's really a good experience for them," she said. "It teaches them about saving money and how it accumulates. It proves to them that if everybody does a little bit, it's impressive."
Lawrence High School has been contributing to the Salvation Army program for more than 30 years.
"That's what the holiday spirit is all about, helping people less fortunate than you," Student Council President Riley Scott said. "It's probably the best thing we do as a school all year."
It took 10 trucks and cars, packed full, to get everything from LHS to the Salvation Army building. About 15 students were excused from first-hour classes to help load and unload the trucks.
"This is teaching those kids something they couldn't learn in a textbook," Salvation Army Lt. Carolyn Schuetz said. "It teaches volunteerism. It takes a lot of work and effort to coordinate it."
Approximately 650 families signed up for assistance with the Salvation Army this year. All will receive assistance; most through the organization's Toy Shop. Approximately 150 to 160 of those families will be "privately" adopted by companies and individuals. Lawrence High School is the largest single contributor to the Adopt-A-Family program.
When families sign up for the program they are guaranteed enough food or food vouchers for a holiday meal, and toys for the children, Schuetz said.
"What's not there is a family gift," she said.
That where the private adoptees get something a little extra. Donors who receive a family's wish list often include something for the parents as well.
Many private contributors get their first experience with the adoptions as high school students, Schuetz said.
"We have one KU student who did it when she was a student at Lawrence High, and now she's come back this year with a group of her friends and adopted a family," she said. "It goes forward because it teaches kids what it is to do this."
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Pennies pinched for charity, Toys for Tots distributed. Page 3B.