Ways to get Involved this Holiday Season

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Two Parkview JROTC students push a cart filled with toys donations to give to Toys for Tots. (Photo Courtesy of Gwinnett Daily Post).

The holidays are approaching, and individuals across Gwinnett are eager to offer assistance to charities and organizations that want to improve others’ holiday experiences. Many Parkview students are willing to give back to the community.

Parkview offers several clubs and extracurricular activities that provide community service initiatives. Roman Thomas, an 11th-grade student, is grateful for Parkview’s abundance of community service-oriented clubs. “My family has always been passionate supporters of our local community,” he adds, “and each holiday season, we strive to engage in food drives or local shelters to make this time of year happier for others.” In addition, many clubs take the time to research any active projects in their community and promote them to their members. 

The Parkview JROTC helps support Toys For Tots by collecting cash and toy donations at local Publix, Kroger, and Wal-Mart stores every year. Toys For Tots is a donation drive that the Marine Corps has been doing for many years, hoping to give less fortunate children something to look forward to under the tree Christmas morning. This year, many CTSO clubs such as DECA, HOSA, TSA, and NTHS are collaborating with the JROTC team to support Toys for Tots as a collective community service project. DECA’s Vice President of Career Development, Khushi Panjwani, expresses her excitement to promote this project for their DECA members, “I have always seen individuals in the Marine Corps in front of my local grocery store collecting toys from any shopper who is willing to donate. Witnessing that interaction of kindness makes me so hopeful for humanity and their ability to give to those in need.” Panjwani believes the holiday spirit always gives individuals more humane energy. 

Letters for Rose and Medical United offer their members many ways to earn service hours this holiday season. They have begun their holiday cheer by collaborating to ask members to write letters of gratitude toward Healthcare Workers and Veterans for Thanksgiving. In addition, they asked members to write a handwritten letter expressing their thankfulness for our service workers as they work hard during the holiday season and don’t have as much time off. Letters for Rose is also asking members to participate in Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan’s Purse. They collect shoebox gifts that are filled with hygienic items, school supplies, and fun toys—and deliver them to children in need around the world as a way to demonstrate the “holiday spirit in a tangible way.” 

Many students have expressed their desire to create care packages to donate to local homeless shelters. Parkview senior, Zoe Wilson, is working with her friends to spread the word about her project. She asks those to donate any winter clothing, non-perishable food items, hygienic products, and blankets. She will then work with her friends to package items together and distribute them to homeless families. She has observed the homeless crisis in downtown Atlanta especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and wants to help by offering support in the only way she can. She vocalizes, “I am incredibly grateful for all the things I have to give me a comfortable life but I acknowledge that I am privileged to where others aren’t as fortunate as me.” As the weather is getting colder with the holiday season coming closer, she adds, “I want to be able to at least give holiday cheer and items that will help them get through this cold season.” 

While the holidays may bring delight to some, they can significantly strain individuals trying to make ends meet. This is because so many people struggle to afford a roof over their heads, let alone a Thanksgiving meal or presents under the tree. But community unity is what the holidays are all about, so harness those positive thoughts and get ready to assist your neighbors with one of the many Atlanta-area groups that could use your aid.