DHS community helps those in need this holiday season

By JAMIE PRICE

Danville High School

Every year around Christmas, I notice the homeless people on the streets in Lexington when I go shopping — and sometimes even here in Danville. They are always sitting on the street looking sad and poor. I’ve seen people handing the homeless money or food, and they just put a smile on their face. Seeing such poverty at Christmastime is especially heart-sickening. While we would like to believe that such poverty doesn’t exist in our schools, this isn’t always the case.

I interviewed students and staff at DHS to better understand how our community feels about Christmas and how we can serve our neighbors.

According to Amber Wheat, senior at DHS, “Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and being with family.” She doesn’t care if she gets a lot for Christmas. In fact, she said, “If I don’t get a lot for Christmas, I won’t be mad. But if I do get a lot, I will be grateful for what I get because it’s not all about getting gifts; it’s about being with family and celebrating.”

Photos by Jamie Price
Maggie Myers keeps this to-do list for the Ornaments of Hope program.

Other members of the DHS community feel similarly. Teacher Rachel Albright said, “For me, Christmas means spending time with family and friends. This year I’m trying to be present with my family, not just bring presents.”

While Wheat and Albright will likely receive gifts for Christmas and be able to spend money on their loved ones, other Admirals may not be so fortunate. This is where Maggie Myers, Beacon Director at DHS, hopes to make a difference. She will help less fortunate students have a good Christmas this year.

She helps about 100 students every year. Some are high school students and some are middle school students and some of their siblings. This help allows families to have a wonderful Christmas. Myers does this through a program called Ornaments of Hope, run in partnership with the DHS’s Beacon Youth Service Center and two local churches.

Myers said, “Each child in a family provides their clothing & shoe sizes in addition to a wish list of items. These are typically toys, accessories, or electronics.” This year, Ornaments of Hope is serving 60 families, for a total of 141 kids.

Myers emphasized the need for community support, “There are always applications that trickle in past the deadline for this program, which The Beacon and Families First place with small community groups looking to sponsor a family or two. We’ve received applications as recently as Dec. 5.”

To help out, community members can sponsor a student or a whole family. There is also a need for volunteers to help with wrapping and organizing donations. If you are interested in helping out, contact Maggie Myers at Danville High School by calling (859) 936-8473.

This year, when we see those people are who are less fortunate than us, instead of feeling sorry for them, let’s do something about it. Ornaments of Hope is just one way to impact our community this holiday season.

Jamie Price is a sophomore journalism student at Danville High School.