This is a picture of the auditorium at the boys’ high school. On the first day of Christmas vacation I lugged myself out of my nice warm house to witness a pretty cool sight. There were about 40 high schoolers who had also dragged themselves out on a morning with a wind chill of -6 and snow to come to school on the first day of their vacation. They were there to finish putting perishable items into food boxes that would be delivered by these same students all day long until each of the 100 “baskets” of food had been distributed to the families on the list.

Every seat in this auditorium was filled with a box of food. Each recipient family received between 4 and 5 boxes crammed full of food for a week. Turkey, potatoes, carrots, eggs, bread, milk, butter, apples, oranges, dry goods and personal hygiene items crammed the boxes which were all festively decorated by the students. Every year since 1976 the National Honor Society at the Mill River has been doing this – delivering food baskets to needy families. They started out with 5 baskets, this year they did just about 100. I am telling you that it was an awe inspiring sight. These kids were happy, spirited, helpful and polite. They came with cars, trucks, SUVs. They divided up into teams of two or three and loaded up their vehicles, got their assigned recipients and directions and took off. When they would finish delivering what fit in their vehicles, they would return to do it all over again, from 10 until 3 or 4 this afternoon – whenever the last food boxes were delivered.

To accomplish this, they worked to raise monies. They had a bottle drive, a car wash, a raffle and a benefit soup luncheon. They solicited donations from area businesses, they raised the $10,000 needed to accomplish this task. The entire school got into the spirit with each homeroom adopting a family to donate non-perishable items to and some of the TAs even came up with their own mini fundraisers to help the cause. One class sold tiny rubber duckies; another had a raffle of guessing the pieces of candy in a jar. Faculty members were on hand to help deliver baskets and to help coordinate the delivery and finishing touches this morning. It was an encouraging sight to see when you only read about the miserable things that happen in this world.

It is nice to know that these kids gave up the first day of their Christmas vacation, the whole day, to get up early and come and do this for other people. They are an inspiration and truly demonstrate the spirit of the season.

Kudos goes out to the young men and women who dedicated the start of their holiday to making other people’s holiday just a little merrier.