Service, youth help less fortunate
Students in the Basehor-Linwood School District are finding that giving can be just as good as receiving this holiday season.
Through the Basehor-Linwood Assistance Service, a non-profit charitable organization, school district students are participating in an adopt-a-family program for less fortunate families.
"I feel like they should have stuff for Christmas if we get to have stuff for Christmas," said Ashley Roberts, a fifth-grader at Basehor Elementary School.
Roberts' fifth-grade classmate Bekha Magaha agreed.
"I think they should have a good Christmas just like everyone else," Magaha said.
For the past several years, students throughout the school district have participated in the adopt-a-family program.
As part of the program, students and their families donate new clothing, toys and food to needy families designated by the BLAS organization.
"The teachers will send home a list for the kids to look at and the kids will bring the things to school to donate," BLAS coordinator Debbie Derringer said.
BLAS is sponsoring seven families that expressed a need for assistance this holiday season.
The items gathered for the families will be dispersed on Saturday, Dec. 15, Derringer said.
"We might not be able to fill all their holiday needs, but we can help make sure they pretty much have a good Christmas," she said. "With what the schools donate and some of the businesses, they should have a pretty good Christmas."
The spirit of giving is nothing new to the BLAS organization or school district students.
In November, district schools participated in a food drive to provide needy families with traditional Thanksgiving dinners.
"That's what we do, help people," Derringer said. "Everyone was really helpful."
The BLAS program was established by Glenwood Ridge Elementary School counselor Marilyn McGowan.
McGowan said students at GRE have responded positively to the adopt-a-family program.
"It is going pretty good," she said. "We have several classrooms providing assistance to the families and they have really been glad they are doing it."
The organization was founded to provide needy district families with assistance during tough times, Derringer said.
"If there is ever a need throughout the year at anytime, they can call and get the help they need and it is all confidential," Derringer said. "There are very few people that know who the families are."
Derringer said there could be some items left over from the outpouring of donations the adopt-a-family program has received.
"That's the really good thing about it," she said. "What we don't use we will donate somehow."
McGowan said the adopt-a-family program should help students undestand the true meaning of the holiday season.
"I hope they understand this is the season to give and to help each other and not just a time to get presesnts," McGowan said.
The BLAS organization will continue to accept donations for the adopt-a-family program through Dec. 25. Donations will be accepted at Basehor and Glenwood Ridge Elementary School.
For families in need of assistance, the BLAS organization can be reached at (913)724-2077 and (913) 723-3686 for families in Linwood.