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Goretti's in the giving spirit

December 19, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

In a three-hour whirlwind Wal-Mart trip Wednesday, a group of St. Maria Goretti High School students proved that a little Christmas joy is worth a little time spent behind a shopping cart.

Through the Washington County Council of Churches, the school's Varsity Club found four families - one for each class - that needed help fulfilling their holiday wish lists. The club has spent the past week compiling Christmas lists, shopping for toys and wrapping gifts.

Students will deliver the toys to the families today.

Diane Favret, the school's director of admissions and marketing, said the club raised $400 for each family, a donation that was split between gifts and two $50 gift certificates, one to Kmart and one to a grocery store.

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In one fund-raising drive, which raised $400 toward the families, Goretti students, who normally wear uniforms, were given the option to wear their own clothes to school, but for a price.

"It was an easy fund-raiser," said Carol Brashears, the club's adviser and the school's athletic director.

She said much of the money came through donations. Varsity Club members went around to classes and asked their peers to contribute to the cause.

"We all realize that we're considered a wealthy school, but we are very giving," senior Colleen McGarity said.

Favret said many of the donations came from students' own pockets, saying that many students gave up their lunch money or baby-sitting money in order to buy gifts for the children.

"We get a lot for Christmas, so it's nice to make somebody else's Christmas feel Christmassy," said Mike Nelson, 18, a senior Varsity Club member.

He said he worked with underprivileged children at a YMCA back in North Carolina and enjoys having the opportunity to give back to the community here.

McGarity, 17, a Varsity Club member, said she looks forward to seeing the families' faces when their presents are delivered today.

"These kids don't get this type of Christmas every year," she said.

McGarity and a group of Varsity Club students spent three hours in Wal-Mart Wednesday picking out gifts. Among the gifts were five bicycles, two of which were donated by the department store.

Senior Lucia Alencherry, 17, said she had fun shopping for the children.

"It was sort of like being a kid," she said.

Senior Katie Martin, the club's president, said this is the biggest toy campaign the school has made in a few years. Aside from canned food drives and work in soup kitchens, Martin said, the club tries whenever they can to provide help to the community.

"If I got everything on my Christmas list I'd be like, wow," McGarity said.

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