SGA and NHS Give Back: Filling Hearts and Donation Boxes

With the holidays upon us, students in various clubs were eager to find ways to give back to their community. Students in the Student Government Association (SGA) and National Honor Society (NHS) both organized toy drives to help less fortunate people in and around the community have a happy holiday season. 

The annual SGA toy and coat drive invites and encourages students to donate new or lightly used toys, as well as winter coats, to people in need. Members of the club placed boxes around the school in heavily populated areas, such as the main entrance, to make the donation process easy and accessible for students and faculty. In addition to the boxes, members of the club hosted an official drive on December 3 to attract even more donors. Volunteers waited patiently in the main entrance of the building with their boxes. All items donated in the drive went directly to the Rock and Wrap it Up organization. SGA advisor Mary Kirby shared the club’s close connection to the organization: “We have developed a great relationship with Syd and Diane Mandelbaum and strive to help them continue to do wonderful acts of kindness for those who are in need,” she explained. Kirby reflected on how this drive came to be thirty years ago when April Geanacopoulos, parent of LHS student Sam Geanacopoulos, connected the club with the organization. “The rest is history,” Kirby noted.

When asked why she felt it was important that SGA hosted this drive given the time of year, SGA member and senior Juliette Bohn expressed that it is important to “…come together for the members of our community who do not have the luxury to buy a winter coat in these cold months.” Bohn added, “The holidays are a time of year when every member of our community deserves to be comfortable and free of stress,” and continued, “hopefully, a new coat will relieve a burden off their shoulders.” Kirby shared that her favorite part of the drive is observing the overwhelming feeling of gratitude among the students: “It is truly what the holiday season is about,” she said. “The importance of recognizing what we can be thankful for in our world and appreciate all the little things that make up the big things in life.” 

The SGA was not alone in giving back to the community this holiday season as the National Honor Society toy drive commenced two weekends later, on December 17. Members of the club bought gifts for a range of ages and placed them outside their homes for the board members of NHS to come and collect. The toys donated in this drive went directly to the pediatric patients of NYU Langone Hospital. NHS president and senior Ava Schwam shared the reason behind the drive and noted, “Just a simple toy can make a [child]’s Christmas so much brighter, especially when they have to spend it in unfortunate circumstances.” She additionally commented that this drive exemplifies how members uphold the pillars of the club, namely, leadership and service. Schwam added that the drive’s continued success is attributed to the generosity and kindness from each member. Reflecting on the impact of this drive on the community, Schwam commented, “The toy drive also instills the magic of the holiday spirit all through the town and makes the community a better place.”