The average American shopper spent a bit over $700 on holiday gifts and purchases last year. The average rich American, mind you, dropped closer to $2,300 on gifts during the 2011 holidays. What makes those numbers even more depressing is that right in our neighborhoods there are children due to circumstances outside of their control are looking at getting zero for Christmas. The RPS McKinney Vento Holiday Program is attempting to address that issue and to help get word out H&H will be highlighting a story each week. Details on what you can do from the organizer Alia Butler.
It’s that time of year again and we are kicking off the holiday gift program for students who have experienced homelessness during this school year. Richmond Public Schools identified 1,700 homeless students last year. Through this holiday program we will serve the homeless students, and their families, of George Wythe High School, Huguenot High School and Armstrong High School. I believe we as a community can help fill the holiday wishes of these students. Last year we had a very successful holiday program, but I hope to fulfill even more wishes this year and with your help I believe we can make this happen.
To let you know how much this means to my students– Here is a recent interaction I had. I provided one of my students with the form to request her holiday wishes and in response to the opportunity she said, “Last year I didn’t get anything for Christmas and I had given up on Christmas. You mean I get to put down what I want and someone who doesn’t know me is going to make sure I get something I want for Christmas? Is this for real?!! I am going to get something for Christmas! You don’t know how good this news is…now I can believe in Christmas again! Ms. Butler, tell whomever is getting these gifts thank you very much. This will mean so much to my family and my siblings!” By giving these gifts you are not only providing Christmas, you are letting these students know there is a community of people out there who care about them and don’t want to see them left behind!
The gift requests range from simple clothing items to electronics. So, even if you may not be able to afford a larger item I think there is something for everyone! There are a number of ways you can become involved. If you would like to simply provide one gift or a couple of gifts you can either email me directly and I will email you a master list of gift requests or you can actually visit one of the three schools to pick your own gift off the “Angel Snowman” display (all the snowmen should be up by Friday 11/16). You can also tell me the types of items you would be interested in providing and I can pick those items for you. If you are extra ambitious you can adopt a student or a whole family and fulfill all their gift requests. If you are interested in adopting an individual student or family please email me and I will pick a family for you! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for the gifts will be Friday, December 14th!
Thank you for all your support!! A number of other opportunities are available for community members to become personally involved with these students throughout the year. We have an after school program that takes place every Tuesday and Thursday at Westover Hills United Methodist Church. Also, you can become a mentor to help support the student for the year. Or, for those wanting to becoming very involved with a student we are after looking for Host Homes for students who have no where else to stay. Please feel free to email me if you are interested in any of these opportunities!