South’s service initiatives support families in need

Aubrey Palaganas

Jessie Norwood

The Holiday Cheer event and the Winter Clothing Drive are allowing families in need to enjoy the holidays despite the pandemic by showing the Glenbrook South community what they can do together, Monique Collins, GBS Parents Association/Titans Helping Titans Liaison said.

Holiday Cheer provided gift cards donated by the South community to families who participate in South’s financial aid program, Collins explained. Donations were collected in the main office until Dec. 11 and then distributed by South counselors.

“We [asked] for donations of $25 gift cards to Target, Walmart, Jewel [Osco] and Kohl’s,” Collins said. “I hope that we can support all of the GBS families [in need] so that it will lessen the stress they may have of worrying about how they will have food on the table or gifts for their family.”

With 18 percent of South’s population in the financial aid program, the Holiday  Cheer event is vital to providing for families, Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel said.

“When students have what they need to feel safe and cared for, they do better in school-academically, socially and emotionally,” Fagel said.

Fagel explained that the event has been a South tradition for over 10 years since a fund was started through the nurse’s office. It has evolved to be run by the Parent Association and Student Services but its mission remains the same: provide for families in need and help the community.

Accompanying Holiday Cheer is the annual Winter Clothing Drive, put together by Titans Helping Titans. This year’s drive collected many donations, junior Aniqu Jewa, member of Titan Helping Titans, said. Jewa helped sort through the donations and was pleased with the number of clothes they had to give away.

“From children’s boots to women’s coats to men’s sweatpants, the drive was a success in terms of the amount of clothing,” Jewa said.

Senior Allison Gomez, a member of Titans Helping Titans, explained that despite the pandemic, the drive ran with extra precautions such as meeting over Zoom and social distancing while supervising the event.

“[Titans Helping Titans] has continued our drives to the same capacity we would have done in a normal year,” Gomez said. “This year, the community certainly needs it more so it is my belief that the work we do this year is more impactful than ever before.”

Collins hopes that in addition to inspiring students, the Holiday Cheer event in combination with the Winter Clothing Drive will show the community what they can accomplish together.

“Providing a gift card for Holiday Cheer or clothing for the Winter Clothing Drive may not seem like a lot, but the collective impact from the GBS families will make a difference for local families,” Collins said.