Counselor’s Corner: 3 Ways to Spread Warmth and Good Cheer to Your School and Community

Cozy Border by M. WilbournThe holiday season can be a difficult time for already struggling families. You can spread warmth and good cheer to your school and community by connecting with faith communities and community organizations, partnering with a local thrift or consignment shop, or hosting your own donation drive.

Partner with a local faith community or community organization
At the beginning of the holiday season last year, the school I worked at received a generous donation of hats and gloves from my aunt’s church. The children in the Sunday school program at her church collected the donations. Students at my school were very excited and appreciative of the gloves and hats.

A local community organization also donated new coats to students in need at our school. Coat donations make a huge impact because they can be expensive for families to purchase.

Many faith communities and community organizations look for ways to give back during the holiday season. Connect with churches in the vicinity of your school or have the school staff suggest the idea to their own congregations. Hats and gloves are relatively inexpensive to donate but make a big impact to cold hands and heads. Coats are more expensive, but are priceless to children in need of them.

Partner with a thrift or consignment shop
My coworker and I worked with a local consignment shop to receive donations of clothing for students year-round. During the winter season the consignment shop went above and beyond helping families in need at our school. We communicated with the consignment shop about the sizes students needed and they gave us shopping bags full of clothing for each child. Students received winter clothing, coats, gloves, hats, dressy holiday outfits, and shoes. We were overwhelmed by their generosity and it meant a lot to children at our school to have new or like new clothes. The majority of the clothing we received was brand name and some even still had the tags on.

Contact your local thrift and consignment stores to see if they are willing to donate their unsold clothing items to your school.

Host your own donation drive

You can start your own donation drive of hats and gloves or coats. Decide if you want your donation drive to benefit your school, a local school in your community, or a national organization such as Coats for Kids Foundation’s Operation Warm. Operation Warm is currently donating coats to areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you are looking to receive donations for your own school, a nonprofit called One Warm Coat provides you with all the tools you need to host a coat drive.

What do you do in your school or community to spread warmth and good cheer? What other ways do you support families during the holiday season?

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

Additional Resources
Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
The Salvation Army, consignment and thrift store locator

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About Danielle R. Schultz

School Counselor blogger for Free Spirit Publishing Blog
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1 Response to Counselor’s Corner: 3 Ways to Spread Warmth and Good Cheer to Your School and Community

  1. Rachel H. says:

    Last year, my coworker and I organized a Penny War at our Middle School with all the proceeds going to adopt families in need for the holidays within our own building. Initially we hoped that we would earn $1000. The generosity and competive spirit of our students and staff really shined through and we earned $4000 that week. Not expecting that our Penny War would be so successful, we had under-identified our families in need and ended up adopting some families at our neighboring elementary school. This year, we are better prepared, have identified more families and have challenged our students to beat last year’s total. If they do so, our Principals have agreed to something embarrassing in front of the entire school. Our students will be given the chance to vote using a free text poll. Our Annual Penny War has gone a long way to build a sense of caring and community within our school.

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