HMS students spread holiday cheer

HMS students create chew toys for pets during Community Service Day

Hockinson Middle School ended the week with an outpouring of holiday cheer … and food and blankets and chew toys and ornaments … during its first-ever Community Service Day on Friday, Dec. 14.

One upstairs classroom became a topsy-turvy grocery store, as teacher Joe Loper’s home base students bagged and boxed donations to the school’s annual food drive. The school broke its previous record as classes collected more than 5,100 cans, boxes of cereal, and bags of pasta and beans. The classes that donated the most items won the opportunity to haul it all to the District 3 Fire Station, which will distribute the food to community members in need.

Meanwhile in the gym, seventh and eighth grade mentors worked with sixth graders to turn fleecy fabrics into 37 blankets. They will be donated to Vancouver’s Winter Hospitality Overflow shelter, which offers guests a warm place to sleep, hot showers and meals during the winter months. (The fabric was purchased on a Black Friday special with money the Hockinson Boosters had given the mentors for their assistance with last summer’s Hockinson Fun Days.)

But that’s not all! Other classes started their day creating care packages and writing cards that will be delivered to students affected by the Camp Fire in California and organized holiday gifts for people in need in Hockinson and at Vancouver’s ShareHouse. Still others turned rags and other materials into chew toys for pets in shelters.

“The purpose of the Community Service Day is to teach kids that they can make a difference, even with a small act of kindness,” said school counselor Jessica Ambrose. “It gives them a sense of belonging and, hopefully, purpose too.”

“All of the kids had the opportunity to be engaged in doing positive things for the community,” said instructional coach Kim Abegglen.

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