Schools dive into holiday spirit

Students at Oak Harbor Elementary School gather their canned goods for the student-run drive to support the North Whidbey Help House.  - Photo courtesy of Joe Hunt
Students at Oak Harbor Elementary School gather their canned goods for the student-run drive to support the North Whidbey Help House.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Joe Hunt

Students and staff in Oak Harbor have helped make it a much happier holiday season on Whidbey Island, contributing thousands of food items to the area food banks, many dozens of Christmas gifts for individual children and families in need, and winter gloves, hats and scarves for a local women’s shelter.

In all, student-run food drives collected about 13,000 canned and boxed items for Help House. This district-wide effort was led this year by the “Fill the Bus” drive, organized by students at North Whidbey Middle School working with Crescent Harbor, Olympic View, and Oak Harbor elementary schools.

As the food drive ended, students went from school to school in a bus driven by Transportation Director Francis Bagarella. With students doing most of the heavy hauling, they managed to nearly fill the bus, with boxes containing 8,200 food items stacked high on all the seats.

At Oak Harbor High School, Key Club collected 2,000 food items in its annual food drive. Olympic View’s Parent-Teacher Organization held a Winter Wonderland holiday and collected another 400 canned or boxed foods as the price of admission. Oak Harbor Middle School collected 2,000 items, as well as $200 cash for Help House.

Broad View Elementary and Oak Harbor Middle each have “giving trees,” where staff bring in hats, gloves, and scarves, hanging them on the tree like ornaments. The winter gear will be given to Citizens Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) and to families in need.

Several schools (HCE, CHE, OHE, OHMS, NWMS) have adopted specific children or families for the holidays, ensuring that they have coats, clothing, books, and toys under the tree this year. District administrators, principals, and central office employees filled the wish lists of about 40 children through the Tree of Hope program.

HomeConnection conducted its food drive for the Thanksgiving season, providing families with baskets that contain all the ingredients of a full Thanksgiving meal. Broad View conducts its food drive – the Souper Bowl – in late January.

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