The Angels of H-F

Anna Keigher, Feature Writer

Homelessness in Illinois

The holidays are a time for giving back to those in need, and many clubs at H-F are stepping up to help out the community.
Holiday Angels is a program that H-F has been donating for years. Each year around the holidays, several clubs at H-F are given a family to sponsor, and are responsible for buying the items requested from each family.
The process works differently for each club. H-F’s Just Like You club takes a group shopping trip to Wal-Mart and splits the large group into subgroups with a set budget for each group to spend on a gift. The members of the club are encouraged to spend all of the money they were given and the majority of that money for the specific family member in need.
David Dore, one of the sponsors of the club said why each club member looks forward to Holiday Angels every year.
“This trip started as an opportunity for our students to go into the community to practice life skills such as purchasing, budgeting, perspective taking and it has turned into so much more,” Dore said. “It is a trip our students look forward to every year.”
Another club participating in Holiday Angels this year is DECA. Student board member, Anna Thompson, explains how they organized the event for this year.
“We made a spreadsheet and there’s a lot of different items to sign up for that were requested from the family, as well as some additional gifts. We have about two different items for each person,” Thompson said. “The DECA members are then responsible for buying and wrapping the gift that they signed up for.”
Holiday Angels is a very important event, so the planning is very crucial in making it so successful. Key Club President, Joel Blanco, explains why Key Club’s Holiday Angels event is so successful each year.
“Our volunteers care and take pride in each of the assigned jobs that we are given for Holiday Angels,” Blanco said. “It really brings our Key Club community together each year.”
Though the process of Holiday Angels looks different for each club, there is one common denominator that all of the clubs have: an understanding of the importance in giving back to those less fortunate.
“There are so many reasons why Holiday Angels is important, but the main reason our club participates is it gives us a chance to think about others and their needs,” Dore said. “We go shopping as a program and try to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Even when we are shopping, we are focusing on life lessons such as empathy.”
Holiday Angels is only a small way to help those less fortunate, but the act of giving, with receiving nothing back in return, helps H-F grow as a school and each student in the club as an individual.
“At this time of year, our students may be encouraged to put together a wish list encouraging a ‘what’s in it for me’ mindset,” DECA Sponsor, Michael O’Neil, said. “However, as we grow older and wiser, we realize that giving back to those less fortunate without expecting anything in return is the greatest gift of all.”