MHS students helping out this holiday season

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MHS students helping out this holiday season

Senior Hailey Phipps (left) and sophomore Aidan Wilson (right) wrapping gifts they bought for their designated Milford Miracles family. (Photo by Abby Knapp)

Senior Hailey Phipps (left) and sophomore Aidan Wilson (right) wrapping gifts they bought for their designated Milford Miracles family. (Photo by Abby Knapp)

Senior Hailey Phipps (left) and sophomore Aidan Wilson (right) wrapping gifts they bought for their designated Milford Miracles family. (Photo by Abby Knapp)

Senior Hailey Phipps (left) and sophomore Aidan Wilson (right) wrapping gifts they bought for their designated Milford Miracles family. (Photo by Abby Knapp)

Abby Knapp, Asst. Editor

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The holiday season is a very exciting time. It can evoke feelings and memories of warm, delicious meals, presents under the tree, and spending time with friends and family. However, for others, the holidays are not quite as special.

The National Retail Federation estimates that the average American will spend more than $700 on Christmas gifts this year, and that doesn’t take into account the cost of food, decorations, or warm clothing. For families struggling financially or otherwise, a seemingly joyful period of time can be really difficult.

Knowing these facts, many Milford High School students have been a part of projects that are making the holidays a little bit brighter for many individuals in our community.

One of Milford’s biggest fundraising events is Milford Miracles. Milford High School’s Leadership class collects money every year to buy gifts for families who have trouble affording them. Once the money is raised, Leadership students do the shopping, wrapping, and delivering of all the gifts.

Last year, Leadership raised about $8,800, which allowed them to “adopt” 12 families and help about 50 people. Milford’s Leadership teacher Dave Gilbert projected that number to be just as great, if not greater this year.

Senior Whitney Malkowski wrapping the gifts she bought for her Milford Miracles family. (Photo by Abby Knapp)

“We’ve gotten a lot of community outreach, so even if we don’t raise as much money [within the school] this year, we have a bunch of people who want to help out. I can definitely see it growing this year,” Gilbert reported.

As it turns out, that number did indeed grow from last year’s fundraising. MHS raised a total of $12,913.11, helping 20 families and 86 people.

The money raised was a combination of donations from local businesses and fundraising efforts within the high school.

15 teachers collected money during their class periods this year. As it has been in the past, the collections became a competition among the teachers and “Milford Miracles Queen” Mrs. Smith took home the gold once again, raising $1,815.86.

Mr. Reschke was a close second place, raising $1,736.72.  Mrs. Sare and Señora Alfaro were honorable mentions as well, both raising over $1,000.

The gift-giving process is especially meaningful for students. “Gift-giving can go one of two ways. The families are either really grateful and accepting and super enthusiastic about it, or in a way they’re embarrassed that they’re in that situation because it’s definitely a pride thing. It’s good for our students to get a sense of what that’s like,” Gilbert remarked.

Gilbert also highlighted that no matter what kind of response students receive, they respond really well in that social setting and feel good about helping their community and the impact that they’ve had.

Milford High School’s National Honor Society. (Photo courtesy of Robert Vosk)

Milford’s National Honor Society has also been involved in efforts to help out this holiday season. One of the biggest aspects of the holidays is spending time with family, and that can be difficult when loved ones are battling an illness.

Students who are a part of NHS have spent multiple weeks collecting cans to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The money raised will go towards research, finding a potential cure, and ensuring that all patients have access to treatment.

NHS president Brian Smith has a meaningful connection to this cause. “I know someone personally who has suffered from Leukemia and was helped through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. By choosing this organization, it was kind of my way of giving thanks to them for helping my friend,” said Smith.

In addition to the events put on by MHS, there are countless other ways you can help others this winter.

With the cold Michigan weather, many people worry about having sufficient clothing to get them through the snowy season. Coats, mittens, hats, and warm socks are always in demand. Donating clothing is a super easy way to help out.

The most local way you can donate is through Highland Community Sharing. They accept gently used clothing, and winter-specific garments are provided through special winter clothing drives.

An even more convenient way to donate is through the Amazon Smile option on their webpage. By clicking on the icon, it allows you to see a wish-list and directly purchase items online that were specifically requested. The items are sent straight to Highland Community Sharing.

An equally impactful option is volunteering or donating to the Baldwin Center in Pontiac. The Baldwin Center offers a variety of services including a family soup kitchen and a clothes closet. Both of those services accept donations and eager volunteers.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your time this winter, consider doing good deeds for others. Whether it’s scraping the snow off someone’s car, baking some cookies for friends, or just paying someone a compliment, kindness is contagious and is the greatest gift you can give this time of year.