The Holiday Project, which was started in 1988, has two components—Holiday Gift Sponsorship and Food Drive. The Holiday Project helps students and their families with items from their wish list, food basket, gift certificates, and personal hygiene products. We cannot do what we do without the cooperation and participation of the Westerville community.
Holiday Gift Sponsership:
The Westerville Caring & Sharing Holiday Project assists students and their families with gifts, food baskets, personal hygiene and household products through a sponsorship, consisting of individuals and/or businesses/organizations. The Christmas sponsorship is a community-wide project where we recruit sponsors to provide items from a student’s wish list. Every year, families fill out an application to participate in the Holiday Project. Once accepted, students and/or parents /guardians fill out a wish-list where requests for clothing, toys, electronics, books, etc are recorded. A sponsor is then matched with a student(s) to purchase items from the wish list. The sponsors then deliver the gifts to the distribution site.
The Westerville community supports us in many ways. Civic groups donate winter coats for children ranging in age from pre-school to high school. Many restaurants donate a portion of the day’s proceeds to Westerville Caring and Sharing. Fundraisers from different organizations and school students were held to raise money to buy gift certificates and other items for students and their families. As an example of student involvement with WC&S, Westerville elementary students raised $225.81 by collecting pennies. In 2010, the three high schools donated $39,465.
The food drive is a community-wide project. Over 50 Westerville community businesses allow donation boxes to be placed on their premises. In addition, organizations, civic groups, city employees, and the school district have their own food drives, and donate what they collect to Westerville Caring and Sharing. During one Holiday Project, Westerville City middle school students collected approximately 8,000 canned goods; and at another time, city employees donated approximately 8,200 pounds of food!
The Back-to-School project is designed to help families with school-aged children who might be overwhelmed in providing school supplies and clothing. We give students the same type of school supplies that every other student has. This allows the students on subsidized lunch program to start the school year on an equal footing.
With having a successful Holiday Project in 1988, the members of Westerville Caring and Sharing expanded the very next year to help students with back to school supplies! We ensure that the students we assist have the same school supplies and bookbags as their peers so nobody feels left behind. In addition to school supplies, personal hygiene products are also given as these items cannot be purchased with an EBT card. It is important that these students start the school year on an equal footing with their peers so that their learning envionment is as comfortable and productive as possible.