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Interact Club: Santa’s Little Helpers

SONIA STANGENES
STAFF WRITER

The holiday season is the perfect time to give back to the community. Students at Pinewood Upper Campus are ready to help spread holiday cheer by getting involved with projects led by the Interact Club, Pinewood’s community service student organization.
Interact supervisor Michele Isaac is excited about the two service opportunities offered at Pinewood this season. Pinewood is partnering with the Ronald McDonald House of Stanford to help donate toys to children for Christmas. The Ronald McDonald House provides resources for families with children
undergoing extensive medical treatments. In the past, Pinewood students have served food for the organization, and now they are participating in the Wishing Tree project. The
Ronald McDonald families’ gift wishes are on a Christmas tree at Upper Campus. Students can fulfill the request by picking up an ornament,
purchasing the toy, and leaving the toy under the tree with the ornament placed alongside it.
The second service opportunity, Blanket Buddy, is led by junior Nia Gupta. Gupta and her mother first started this program several years ago with their local homeless shelter in Fremont.
“There are so many ways to help out the community, and there were so many big things already, so we decided to do this,” Gupta said.
The purpose of Blanket Buddy is to provide the less fortunate in the Bay Area with warm blankets for the chilly winter season. Anyone can help out by donating either new or lightly used blankets and leaving them in a bin located at Upper Campus.
“Our goal is to help spread the joy of Christmas and provide warmth for families that are less fortunate than ours,” Gupta said.
Both Wishing Tree and Blanket Buddy will be running from Dec. 5 through Dec. 9.
However, service in the Bay Area is not limited to the Pinewood
community.
Donating food to Second Harvest Food Bank is a quick and easy way to help provide families and senior citizens with meals. Second Harvest requests foods that are non-perishable, like meals in a can or peanut
butter. Drop-off locations can be found in San Mateo at the Bing Center or in Santa Clara at the Cypress Center and the Curtner Center.
Young girls and their mothers can partake in other fun service opportunities through the National Charity League. On Dec. 4, they had their annual
cookie philanthropy event to benefit the Salvation Army. The girls and their mothers each bring two dozen
cookies and make boxes of the cookies with ribbons to give to the Salvation Army families. Senior Rebecca Stebbins and her mother, Janet Stebbins, have participated in the event for the past
six years.
“We would make homemade cookies together. It was such a fun way to bond with my mom while also helping out my community,” Stebbins said.
Volunteering is a great way to meaningfully connect with your community and offer a wonderful chance to make someone else smile during the
holiday season.

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