Thursday, December 10, 2020

Student groups coordinate effort supporting families in need for holidays

By Elizabeth Richards

In a year where more families than ever may be struggling to provide a holiday celebration for their families, the honor societies and Student Council at Windham High School are pulling together to give back to the community.

“All of the honor societies like to give back during the season,” said Katy Dresnok, coordinator for the French Honor Society at WHS.

Five different organizations at Windham High
School, including the honor societies and student
council are teaming up to collect donations to
sponsor families in need in the area this 
Christmas season. FILE PHOTO  

Because of COVID, she said, making connections is harder this year. Although clubs are connecting online, they aren't meeting in person, and activities they've done in the past aren't a possibility this year.  

“The kids still want to do something, and give back somehow,” Dresnok said.

As the student groups thought about what that might be, Dresnok said, they realized that a lot of people are having a hard time this year.

Initially, she said, she approached David Dyke, coordinator for the Latin Honor Society and Elizabeth Bubier, coordinator for the Spanish Honor Society with the idea to do something together. The idea was then expanded to include Windham High School’s National Honor Society and the WHS Student Council as well.

The end result is a joint effort among the five groups. They decided to get it out to the public, as well to get as many people as possible involved.

“People want to help, they just don’t know how,” Dresnok said.

For this effort, each school group will coordinate donations to support a different family from Windham or Raymond during the holidays.  With the help of monetary donations from the community, they’ll support at least five families.

“It went from a little thing to a big thing,” Dresnok said.  

The goal is to collect $1,000, which will provide food items, gifts, and a gift card to Hannaford so families can purchase their desired main entrée for their holiday dinner.

Each club will collect and purchase donations according to a list of needs provided by the school social worker, Doug Daigle, who will then get the packages to the families.

Any donations received that exceed the need for the five selected families will either be used to extend the effort to more families or donated to a community program to help people in need, Dresnok said.

Any excess food donations will be donated to a local food pantry.

Dresnok said they all feel fortunate to be living in Maine, and able to go to school at least part time.  At the same time, she said, they realize that a lot of people are struggling. 

“It feels really good to help people, even if we don’t know who we’re helping,” she said. 

Dresnok appreciates the fact that the students are doing something for others, and they love it too, she said.

“They always go big…the kids are super generous, and this is a way for them to do something for the benefit of the community.”

Monetary donations will be accepted until Dec. 17, which will allow for time to assemble and deliver the items, Dresnok said. 

An account is set up at WHS for people to donate to student activities. 

For this effort, anyone wishing to donate can go to  and select student activities, noting WHS Holiday Fundraising Campaign in the payment description area.

Checks can be sent as well, made out to Windham High School, with Holiday Fundraising Campaign noted on the memo line. <

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