Gifts in fabric bags next to a green pine tree with lights and a present on top
Graphic credits: "Holiday Bokeh" by JLS Photography-Alaska, "gift wrapped present with red wrapping, a poinsetta bow, and pine clipping with fake snow on a white table" by ProFlowers.com, "fabric gift bags" by merwinglittle dear, "mini Christmas tree" by http://www.christmasmarine.com/.

With the holidays quickly approaching, more opportunities to give back to the school and community start to rise to the surface. If you feel the itch to donate and help those in need during this time, there are different ways to do so at Oswego High School and in the community.

Ways to help at OHS

B.I.O.N.I.C. Giving Trees

B.I.O.N.I.C (Believe It Or Not I Care) has donating opportunities for this holiday season through the Giving Tree. There are multiple families in the school district in need of help, and this is a way to extend a helping hand to them. These anonymous families need donations such as gift cards or other specified items tailored to their wants and needs. Descriptions of the families or individuals are visible, so you can see why each Giving Tree is unique and important. Any donations can be dropped off in room 12 during school hours; for other times to drop off donations, contact Ms. Chante Morrick at cmorrick@sd308.org. Also, include the tree number you are giving a gift to on a note with the gift, and wrapping the present helps, as well.

WE Club gift wrapping

The OHS WE club is collecting donations for its December gift wrapping event. This event not only supports its Mental Health Campaign by alleviating stress on gifters this holiday season, but WE Club also supplies the wrapping items. Knowing this, the club needs help with donations such as holiday-themed gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper, gifting tags, ribbons or bows, clear tape, and tissue paper. You can bring any donation items to room 247 or to Mrs. Jaclyn King’s office in room 258b. Since the holidays are coming up soon, the deadline for donations is the second week of December. The gift wrapping date is unknown at this time, but will most likely be in the second or third week of December. Any donations would be greatly appreciated since there is a big need for any and all wrapping supplies!

If you are looking for other opportunities to volunteer this holiday season, check the SD308 website to find possible events. 

Ways to help in the community

The Kendall County Community Food Pantry

As usual, the Kendall County Community Food Pantry in Yorkville, Ill., has opportunities to volunteer and donate to those in need. Every $1 donated equates to $8 worth of essentials provided by the Northern Illinois Food Bank. If you are unable to donate money, the KCC Food Pantry also accepts canned food donations, along with other pre-packaged food items, like “kid-friendly cereal.” Donations like coats and shoes are also acceptable. The Food Pantry accepts donations at all hours of the day, and donations can be dropped off at the red door at the front of the building. 

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is always accepting donations, and the iconic Santas standing by red collection kettles and collecting donations provide an easy way to donate. Additionally, the Salvation Army accepts online donations and physical goods. Clothing is a widely needed donation, especially during the winter. The Family Store and Donation Center located in Montgomery, Ill., will accept any physical donation items and is open for donating Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. You can find this center at 1590 Douglas Road. All donations go to people in the community who are homeless and/or in poverty. 

Hesed House

The Hesed House located in Aurora, Ill., accepts donations that can be used to help community members combat homelessness. Donations can include sugar, Band-Aids, and sleeping bags, amongst others listed on the website. Gift cards of any amount for grocery stores, gas stations, and local fast food places are also an option. Any donations can be dropped off on Mondays through Fridays at any time between 9 a.m and 5 p.m at the Hesed House. 

Feed My Starving Children

Feed My Starving Children in Aurora has volunteer opportunities year-round, and volunteering during the holidays is a way to give gifts to people in need all around the world. Volunteers need to follow CDC guidelines by wearing a mask and completing a verbal symptom screening upon entry. Group sizes are limited and social distancing is enforced, as well. Visit the website to sign up for a time to volunteer, and feel free to sign up with friends and family, as groups are still welcome. If volunteering is not an option for you, another way to give back is by giving an online donation.

Oswego Holiday Drive 

The Village of Oswego is doing a Holiday Drive on Friday, Dec. 10, and is looking for people to help pack and distribute goodie bags for children. The Drive-Through is open for volunteers from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Venue 1012. Volunteers could either hand out the goodie bags or work the check-in and check-out tables. Christmas music will be played and Santa will be there to spread holiday cheer! Additionally, the goodie bags need to be packed beforehand: there are volunteer opportunities from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6; Tuesday, Dec. 7; and Wednesday, Dec. 8. Dress up in your warmest pajamas and bring your friends! Christmas music will also be played while stuffing the goodie bags so there will be plenty of holiday cheer! This event will take place in the Oswego Village Hall. 

Volunteering and donating during the holidays as a way to give back shows others in your community and around the world that they are not alone, and it could improve their quality of life. The tiniest action or donation can make the biggest difference to someone. Spread the holiday cheer, Panthers!

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