By: Maria Emmons
A single mom goes to the grocery store with kids and has to return groceries because she doesn’t have enough money to pay for them. A teen girl cannot afford to pay for feminine pads or tampons. A young father skips meals because he can’t afford to eat for himself and feed his family. Many people have it very well in Columbia, but not everyone is so fortunate and it is important to recognize that something so simple as bringing in some extra canned food can be enough to change someone’s life.
Atholton students had the opportunity to give back to their community and participate in a spirit week and charity drive. The drive received more goods than expected. Atholton senior and secretary of the National Honors Society at Atholton, Jahyden Montoute said that “The drive went really well.”
Montoute stressed the importance of the drive saying, “The inspiration was from the NHS principles, and the service principles, and one thing that I really liked about it was that it wasn’t for service hours but doing it just because you wanted to do it.” The national honor society felt that it was important to participate in a drive to help others and in the process, create a spirit week to make it more enjoyable for students that participated.
The drive took place from Monday, April 4th- Friday, April 9th. Each day was a different spirit day which coincided with a different charity drive item. Monday, was the canned food drive, with all proceeds going to Food on the 15th, a national organization that donates to those in need. For the students, Monday was pajama day. Tuesday, was a toy and book drive for the Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC as well as “dress up as your favorite character day.” Toiletries were donated on Wednesday for Comfort Cases, a local organization that donates goods to the needy. Students participated in a white-out day for spirit. Thursday, students dressed as “ImPastas” while once again giving to Food on the 15th by donating pasta. Last but not least, Friday was the school supply drive in which all donations went to Title 1 elementary schools in Howard County, while students participated in the spirit element by bringing their own school supplies in, “Anything but a backpack day.” Atholton’s halls were filled with coolers, laundry baskets, and even shopping carts on “Anything but a backpack day.”
Students were willing to donate for different reasons. Sophomore Malia Billinsgley gave old toys on Tuesday for the toy and book drive. She said she donated because she wanted “to give to those who need/want more than I do.” Malia went on to say that she thinks that it is important to help those in need and give what you can.
One anonymous faculty member, donated feminine pads and various toiletries on Wednesday. She explained that she felt that it is important to donate because of people in need being in such close range to Atholton. She explained that it is humbling and she felt inspired to donate from seeing Grassroots, a crisis intervention center located right next to Atholton High School. This teacher went on to say that she had students in the past in difficult situations where they “needed kindness and help” and how she felt that she could help by simply donating to this charity drive.
The National Honors Society hasn’t had charity drives recently but it seems like they would like to have more in the future. Jahyden Montoute explained that in the future he thinks that it would be good to reach out more about the drive and make sure that it is clear what days to bring in goods and where, etc.
With all of the honors societies here at Atholton, be sure to look out for future charity drives and make a difference in someone’s life.