Casey Organizes Annual Holiday Dreams Drive
As the holiday season rolls around, so does the annual MHS Holiday Dreams Drive.
The drive was originally created by former counselor Rusty Smith, as a way to spread the holiday spirit to students in need.
Typically, donations are accepted from parents, faculty or students from Oct. 1 to Nov. 25.
All donations go toward the $6,000 goal, and the money is then split into $100 gift cards to Walmart or Target. These gift cards are then offered to 60 students who are socioeconomically challenged.
However, due to COVID-19, this donation goal is not being met.
Brenda Casey, social/emotional behaviorist, has been running the Holiday Dreams Drive for the past couple of years.
“Unfortunately, with COVID-19, there’s so much going on and so we, as a staff and as a student body, are all a little overwhelmed with other things we need to get done,” Casey said. “We got a bit of a late start this year.”
Casey also said different clubs and departments such as the ROTC department and the Marquette Parents Organization (MPO) have been large contributors to the Holiday Dreams Drive in past years. But, it’s been difficult for them to conduct fundraisers or contribute due to COVID-19 precautionary measures and distance learning.
Casey said because MHS has such a large student body and faculty, the goal can be met if everyone donates, even if it isn’t a large sum of money.
“For a lot of our student body, it’s nothing to have a 10 or 20 dollar bill in their pocket, but we have students here who would never have a 10 or 20 dollar bill in their pocket, and if they do, it’s certainly not to just walk into a store and buy whatever they want,” Casey said. “So, I think that any amount of kindness that we can show someone that’s struggling is really important.”
Casey said she hopes to meet the goal by mid-November with the help of teachers, students and parents.
Anna Speaker, who works at the registrar, is the collector and bookkeeper for the drive. She said the drive is extremely beneficial and is proud of what it has accomplished.
“I think the Holiday Dreams Drive absolutely helps. It doesn’t change the kids’ situation, and it isn’t life-altering,” Speaker said. “But for a moment they know they are cared about by their school community, and that brings them a bit of joy for the season.”
Speaker said she expects to receive the majority of donations via the MHS-CARES Venmo account this year, as it is fast, easy and contact-free. However, she is also accepting donations in the form of cash and gift cards addressed to the MHS Registrar Office.
Speaker said the drive makes a huge difference for members of the community and she hopes to be able to do so for at least 60 students this year.
“It can be easy to dismiss fundraisers around the holidays as ‘one more thing’ and not really take it to heart,” Speaker said. “But I’ve seen students walk in with the weight of the world on their shoulders when a counselor calls them in, and I’ve seen them stand up just a little bit straighter on their way out.”
Fran Kremer, counselor, helps distribute the gift cards and enjoys brightening up a student’s holiday season.
“It would be fantastic if more people got involved by donating any way they can,” Kremer said. “The more donations we have, the more students we can help.”
She said this small act of kindness can make a massive difference.
“It’s a nice way to share the holiday spirit and help out some students,” Kremer said. “The students are very appreciative of the extra support, and it can help make their holidays a lot better.”
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