Annual event organized by the school's National Honor Society also helps Dare to Care, Salvation Army
By Toni Konz Tatman | JCPS Communications
It's an annual tradition that has been taking place for decades at Eastern High School—a competition among classes that inspires students to give back to their community.
For the past few weeks, students and staff have been collecting money and canned goods as part of the school's Holiday Care-A-Van. It's an event that has grown into the biggest philanthropic project organized by students in Eastern's National Honor Society.
"There are a lot of families who have financial issues and struggle to buy food," said senior Alex Tran, 18. "It feels really good to be able to come together as a school community to give to those who need some extra help, especially during the holiday season."
This year, the students collected $20,294 in cash and 17,000 canned goods. They also donated $1,500 to Dare to Care and adopted 100 families from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree.
A total of 200 baskets—each filled with canned goods, baking mixes, turkeys, and fresh vegetables—were displayed across the floor in the school's gymnasium during a schoolwide assembly on Friday. During the assembly, there was a talent competition and lots of singing and dancing.
A group of seniors then carried the baskets to one of six school buses, loaded the buses, and then distributed the baskets to families who live in Eastern's community.
Some of the baskets were delivered to homes in downtown as well as the Berrytown and Chenoweth Woods apartment complexes.
"It's a very humbling experience," said Lindsay Holeman, 17. "You feel different after you do it. We went to lunch and talked about how inspiring it is to see the community come together. Seeing people's faces and their reaction, it makes a difference."
School officials say the Holiday Care-A-Van first began in the late 1960s.
Tran and Holeman say that events like the Holiday Care-A-Van inspire them to want to continue giving back to their communities after they graduate.
"It makes you want to give back more," Holeman said. "It's a great example of how simple things can go a long way."