Giving Back this Holiday Season


Photo by Lisa Karl

Volunteers pack groceries for families at Loudoun Hunger Relief.

During the holiday season it’s easy to get caught up with the chaotic schedules and scrambling to buy last minute gifts, but by taking time to give back to the community you may find the greatest gift of all. This year, students can get involved at Woodgrove and other community efforts to help the less fortunate by donating their time through volunteering or donating to the needy.

The 2017 holiday season marks the first year that Woodgrove will be hosting a virtual Giving Tree. Students and staff can choose to purchase an item from a list of online gifts, and then bring the gift to Woodgrove. Once all of the gifts have been returned to Woodgrove, they are distributed to families in need.

Somphane Jones, Woodgrove’s Parent Liaison has been coordinating the tree for the past year. Jones also organizes holiday food baskets for Woodgrove families who need extra help putting meals on the table.

“I think that the Giving Tree sends out a message of giving to others, and faith and hope in mankind in being able to love and support one another,” said Jones.

One of Woodgrove’s newest clubs, the PAWS Club, has also made efforts to help the community this holiday season. PAWS is working to support homeless animals this winter. Starting December 1st, the club will set out jars labeled either ‘cat’ or ‘dog’. Students and staff can vote for which animal they like the best by donating money to either jar, and at the end of the month the animal with the most money will be announced. All of the proceeds raised from their month-long event will be donated to help animals in need.

Sophomore Kylie Budd, co-founder of PAWS, hopes through the club’s work this season they will be able to improve the lives of animals in the community. “Everyone is so wrapped up in human problems they forget about all the animals that are suffering,” said Budd.

Loudoun Hunger Relief also offers a variety of opportunities to give back to the Loudoun County area. People can volunteer, host a food drive, donate food, or donate money. Once volunteer positions open, applicants can fill out an online application on the Loudoun Hunger Relief website. After the applications are reviewed, new volunteers are required to attend a 45 minute training session before their jobs begin. While volunteering at Loudoun Hunger Relief may be physically demanding and busy, it pays off through the improvement of the lives of others.

Organizations including the Salvation Army also host holiday events that make Christmas possible for those who are struggling with money. The Salvation Army sets up bell ringers at local stores, who collect money which will go to the families in need. The Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers and welcomes those who want to be bell ringers. To sign up, visit the Salvation Army Loudoun County website to get more information on how to get involved.

Erin Ramsey, a junior at Woodgrove, has a been an active participant in donating to the Round Hill community. Ramsey said, “I think it’s important to give back during the holidays, because, in essence, the holidays are about making the world around you a better place, and that starts by helping those who can’t help themselves.”