Students spend holidays giving back

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Jason Kelly

Photo Credit: Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office, Creative Commons 2.0 Generic

As the holiday season is fast approaching, many are getting into the spirit through community service opportunities.

Whether it is volunteering at a local food kitchen or food distribution event, helping celebrate at a festive party, or aiding at a holiday toy drive, there are numerous ways to give back this winter.

Loaves and Fishes offers a great way to help out the community by serving food to the homeless, and even handing out a special Christmas dinner.

Not only can students get involved by serving meals, but also by collecting and distributing toys for children.

The Salvation Army is doing just this for the holiday season, and is asking for volunteers to help organize food and toys for clients of its annual Christmas Distribution at Cal
Expo on Dec. 21.

The Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services is also putting together a philanthropy in which volunteers can help bring joy to families in need by sorting and wrapping donated toys. The event is on Dec. 20 and students wanting to participate can sign up on the food bank’s website.

Another organization to do this was started by one of Granite Bay High School’s very own. In 2012, Senior Bailey Snow founded his own charity called BrickDreams, which collects, cleans, and redistributes LEGO bricks to children in need.

“I like to do community service because I enjoy knowing that I made a difference in another person’s life, and that it may help others,” Snow said. “One persons actions can positively affect so many others.”

Even though he started his own organization, Snow’s favorite experience was volunteering on USA Today’s Make A Difference Day.

“(I like it) because for a day people of all walks of life come together to help others,” Snow said.

Junior Bryan Baumgarten, who is apart of Boys Team Charity, volunteers his time at holiday parties for those in impoverished areas. Although his most memorable philanthropy was working with Cycles 4 Hope, non-profit organization focused on providing hope, independence and opportunity to those in need through the donation of recycled bicycles.

“It makes me realize how fortunate I am and it makes me feel good that I can help someone out and provide someone with things that I take for granted,” Baumgarten said.

Another popular volunteer opportunity during the holiday season is Dovewood Court – Food For Families. During the annual Dovewood Court Holiday Lights event, people help to collect can food and monetary donations, while enjoying the scenic Christmas themed lights and decorations.

Junior Mira Pexa, who belongs to National Charity League, likes to work at Dovewood Court during the holidays because she enjoys giving back to the community and likes spending time with her mom as well.

“Everyone is super nice and you get a chance to look at all of the holiday decorations and it’s a super good environment,” Pexa said.

She also volunteers at holiday festivity events for organizations such as KidsFirst and Roseville Home Start, where she serves food and interacts with everyone.

Freshman Audrey Wagner is also a member of National Charity League and highly encourages other students to join in on community service opportunities, especially during the holidays.

“It’s really mind opening to see all the things you can do to help and it makes you appreciate what you have,” Wagner said. “I think others should get involved, especially here, because I don’t feel like everyone realizes what other people have to deal with.”

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