As the holiday season progresses, there’s no doubt that everyone is looking forward to unwrapping their presents on Christmas morning. Despite an individual’s age, the simplest gift can still bring a smile to someone’s face and make their day. One of the biggest reasons why people love the holiday season is not only because they receive gifts from the people that care about them, but also because they are able to experience the gift of giving to those they care about.
“Giving gifts gives me so much more joy than receiving them because being happy yourself is one thing, but being able to touch other lives with happiness feels ten times better. It make’s me feel good knowing that I was able to make someone else’s day better,” sophomore Cathryn Cordes said.
For about 6 years, CGHS has taken part in a Christmas collection for the Salvation Army Angels through the Interact club. The Salvation Army, an organization that has been around for many years, locates families that are in need and grants them the opportunity to fill out a wish list for their children. Each person that would like to donate a gift is then assigned an ‘Angel’ to give that gift to. Included on an Angel card is the child’s name, gender, and his/her first and second choice for a toy.
“I believe that students really like to donate gifts to Angels because its not just [about] donating a toy. Its means a lot more to know that the child really does exist, and when they ask for a specific gift, such as a tricycle, you know that the child is actually there to receive it and that you are responsible for fulfilling their wish,” Interact sponsor Ms. DePaola said.
The parents of the Angel pick up the gift a week prior to Christmas so they can put it under the tree for their child. This year, about 250 toys were donated to the cause. However, Christmas isn’t only a joyful season for the children, but it’s a meaningful holiday for elders, as well. For this reason, the Salvation Army Angels isn’t the only event taking place prior to the holidays.
“We always think about children in the Christmas season, but no one really thinks about the seniors, so it is a pleasure to serve the community and think about them,” the owner of Home Instead Senior Care Miami, Gisela De Armas-Ramirez, said.
Be a Santa to a Senior is an event that has taken place here at CGHS every year on the first Friday of December for almost 6 years. The event is run all over the country by a family owned and operated business called Home Instead Senior Care, and it originally started 9 years ago; the organization looks for needy elders in nursing homes to give a gift to during the Holiday season.
“We come here to wrap gifts, such as blankets, slippers, cologne, and all sorts of toiletries, that can benefit the senior residents that don’t have a family,” Director of Activities at the St. Anne’s Nursing Center Michelle Vasco said.
In this annual event, volunteers come together in the new cafeteria at CGHS to wrap gifts that are later given to seniors. A week after the event, Home Instead gathers with Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, and the Boys and Girls Club to deliver the gifts to the seniors who will be benefitting from the cause.
“This is a wonderful event that happens every year and we work together with the community to make sure everyone’s Christmas and Holiday Season is a cheerful one. It is our pleasure to give up our school, and time for this event,” CGHS Principal Mr. Costa said.
Whether it’s donating gifts to children or to the eldery, it is always important to keep in mind that there is someone out there that is in need of the help that we can give. Both the Be a Santa to a Senior event and the Christmas collection for the Salvation Army Angels are great charity events to take part in and lend a helping hand to every holiday season here at CGHS and in the Coral Gables community.