Pictured are staff from the school district's Technology Department, who provided everything on the "Wish List" a school social worker prepared with a needy family in Port Washington.
Following the lead of the school district's Outreach Committee, students, parents and staff of the Port Washington school district all participated in spreading holiday cheer throughout Port Washington this year.
School staff members contributed many toys. The technology and pupil personnel departments each went a step further and fulfilled the holiday wishes of an entire family. Staff of the Community Services department gave time from their lunch hours to sort and wrap gifts.
At Schreiber High School, the Key Club and the Schreiber Times students and staff collected toys. The students wrote letters and went from house to house to pick up the donated items. Students also organized a raffle and used the $400 they raised to purchase toys.
The Make a Smile program, started 12 years ago by School Police Officer Anthony Guzzello and supported by the Police Benevolent Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Volunteer Fire Department, collects toys that are distributed in the community. This year, dozens of beautiful, new toys were given to the school district for needy families.
School guidance counselors and social workers met with more than 50 families. They worked together to make lists of what the families were wishing for this year. These lists were given to 150 generous, anonymous neighbors, who collected the items for the families.
How did all these efforts work out? It seems as if those who were giving the gifts got just as much pleasure as the recipients did. The families who received the gifts were eager to express their gratitude. Here is an account from one of the guidance counselors who delivered gifts to a family: "At the first home, the mother was actually trembling when she saw the packages I brought to her home. When I asked her if she was OK, she started to sob. She was completely overwhelmed with the generosity. She said that due to the kindness of her community, her family would finally be able to celebrate Christmas. She also said that this is the first time in her life that she was excited to celebrate the holiday." Another family had a similar reaction. "The mother started to cry when I brought in the packages," said the guidance counselor. "Every package was clearly labeled and when the mother saw the one with a sticker that said "toaster" you would have thought I brought in a Mercedes. She said 'My kids love toast! Now I can make them toast in the morning.'"