Giving back during the holidays


Image courtesy of documentary “Dear Santa.” (IFC Films via AP)

Katherine Powell, Reporter

   The holiday season is arguably the best time of the year. Among all the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, decorating, and celebrating with loved ones, it is important to remember to give back to those less fortunate. Broughton community members can give back this year by participating in the following opportunities:

   Operation Santa is a program held by the United States Postal Service, in which people can sign up to volunteer as an “elf”. Operation Santa was started in 1912 by Frank Hitchcock, General Postmaster. Young children, whose families may be facing financial burden, submit their letters to Santa in hopes that a volunteer will select their letter and fulfill their Christmas wish. Volunteers adopt a letter and grant the child’s wishes by purchasing their requested gifts or fulfilling any other wishes that may have been included in the letter.   

   Feeding America has lots of great information on how to host a food drive in your community. Food drives allow local food banks to stay stocked. Food banks distribute food to people in need, as well as find a new use for food that may be going to waste. Hosting a food drive helps prevent people in financially difficult situations from going hungry anytime of the year, especially during the holidays. Hosting food drives also helps to raise awareness for solving hunger. Many Broughton students provide food and holiday gifts through donations. Students can help by assisting student services in boxing and distributing food to Broughton families in need during the holiday season.

   Operation Gratitude was started in March of 2003. Founder Carole Blashek began volunteering at an airport military lounge following 9/11. A soldier came to her desk and had a breakdown about how no one would care if he doesn’t make it back home. After hearing this, Carole decided to start Operation Gratitude, a non- profit organization whose mission is to thank first responders. Students can help by writing letters to go in care packages that will be sent to soldiers serving overseas along with other first responders. They  can also help by making Paracord Bracelets, which are survival bracelets for first responders. The bracelets hold seven and a half feet of cords that can be used in several different emergency situations. Visit the Operation Gratitude website to find more information and ways to help. 

   The Salvation Army has been hosting their annual “Adopt an Angel Tree” for 44 years. An angel tree is a way to give to a child in need during the holiday season. Similar to Operation Santa, volunteers adopt an angel tree and purchase gifts for a child in need. By visiting the Salvation Army website, you can select an angel tree to adopt or adopt a forgotten angel tag, completing the wishes of the angel tree that had previously been adopted but had not had its wishes fulfilled. Volunteers who adopt them help make the holiday season truly magical for children who may not have been able to receive any gifts.