Milford Miracles spreads holiday cheer

Leadership+members+Rachel+Maude+and+Kayla+Leatch+wrapping+gifts+to+deliver+to+the+less+fortunate.+%28Photo+by+Annabel+Williamson%29
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Milford Miracles spreads holiday cheer

Leadership members Rachel Maude and Kayla Leatch wrapping gifts to deliver to the less fortunate. (Photo by Annabel Williamson)

Leadership members Rachel Maude and Kayla Leatch wrapping gifts to deliver to the less fortunate. (Photo by Annabel Williamson)

Annabel Williamson

Leadership members Rachel Maude and Kayla Leatch wrapping gifts to deliver to the less fortunate. (Photo by Annabel Williamson)

Annabel Williamson

Annabel Williamson

Leadership members Rachel Maude and Kayla Leatch wrapping gifts to deliver to the less fortunate. (Photo by Annabel Williamson)

Laura Nowicki, Managing Editor

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As Michigan’s chaotic winter weather begins, the holiday season is fast approaching. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve so close together, it’s hard for families to catch a break and be able to afford the hefty price tags that come with providing extensive family care, gifts for children, and staying warm during the winter.

For over two decades, Milford Miracles, a Milford High School tradition run by Leadership and started by Spanish Teacher Señora Alfaro, has aimed to spread holiday cheer and assist those who are struggling during the winter months.

In the early weeks of November, decorated buckets are distributed to every MHS classroom who chooses to participate, which allows students and staff to easily donate spare change before and after class periods.

In addition, the doors of every classroom who chooses to raise money for Milford Miracles are covered in colorful Christmas-themed wrapping paper, making it easy to identify which classrooms are participating.

No matter the amount, every donation goes directly to helping out families and individuals in the community.

“Some things Milford Miracles raises money for include hats, boots, and coats to keep families warm during the winter months,” said Junior Grace Sarafa, a Leadership member. “It also raises money for toys for children all the way to necessities, such as beds.”

Items purchased for each family are determined by a wish list that each household fills out and gives to the Leadership members.

“The wish lists contain mainly needs, and some wants, that each family desires,” explained Milford Leadership teacher, David Gilbert. “We buy whatever is on the list with the money that is donated.”

Milford Miracles spreads its positivity throughout the Huron Valley area.

“We work with counselors throughout the district,” said Gilbert. “With their help, we can pinpoint financially struggling families that we can help out.”

A staple of MHS since the late ’90s, Milford Miracles was originally run by the Spanish Club until Leadership took over a few years ago.  Despite having a great responsibility to continue the legacy that the Spanish Club built for years, Leadership has had great success.

“Since Leadership took over, there have been some differences over the years; for example, it used to involve only foreign language classes, but now it has become a school-wide event,” explained Elizabeth Smith, a Spanish teacher. Gilbert praised the Spanish Club for its valiant efforts to popularize the program, additionally stating that, “Leadership took their model and tried to keep it the same in order to not change the awesome program that they started years ago.”

Since the beginning, Milford Miracles has always brought in thousands of dollars for families in the community. “Last year, MHS raised around $13,000, the highest amount in recent years,” explained Gilbert. “Though it’s a lot less than the record, Milford has decreased from around 1,900 students to 1,300 [since the program began]. We have lost over 600 families that could donate, yet we are still raising high amounts and Milford remains invested in donating.”

Though it may appear that Milford Miracles would be difficult to run and manage, Leadership finds the fundraiser to be less of a project and more of a fun activity.

“Milford Miracles is not a hard project for Leadership because the whole school, both students and staff, work to raise money, which brings the school and community closer together,” explained Sarafa.

This year, Leadership aimed to get MHS even more involved.

“We only want to keep it growing in order to help additional families,” said Gilbert. “Compared to the 84 to 85 total individuals helped last year, we are hoping to have an impact on at least 100 people.”

Since its establishment, Milford Miracles has maintained its reputation of bringing joy to families in times of worry and stress.

“Milford Miracles has such a big impact on individuals and families. The start of winter comes with overwhelming expenses and even the smallest bit of help can relieve so much pressure from the families,” Sarafa proudly exclaimed. “The families are beyond grateful and are often brought to tears. The things Milford Miracles provides can go such a long way.”

On Nov. 26, MHS concluded its fundraising for Milford Miracles. In total, Milford raised $13,895.31 for families in need.

“This does not include business donations (which we are still collecting), [Choir Teacher] Maryann’s [Lambrecht’s] Christmas concert fundraiser, and the numerous Milford families who have reached out to adopt a family of their own,” said Gilbert. “The families we are adopting are still coming in, but I feel strongly that we will end up being able to support more than 20 families within our Huron Valley Community.”

Top donators this year included Elizabeth Smith, who raised $2,393.76, Daniel Reschke, who raised $2,563.75,  and Matthew Gabbert, who was the top donator with $2,575.

The support that Milford Miracles provides for those who need it most is overwhelming and life-changing.

“Thank you for another great year of Milford Miracles,” said Gilbert. “It is great to think about the amount of lives within our own community we are able to impact each year.”