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Holiday Help Program focuses on struggling families

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It’s that time of the year again;
the time of the year where the Holiday
Help Program gets ready to
give gifts to students and families
in need from Grayslake North.

Every year for the past seven
years, there are paper ornaments
hung in the offices of the school
that students and staff can go take
and choose a request from families
in need.

“We invite families that are
in need of assistance, and if they
choose, then they can mail in a
form letting us know what they
need,” said dean secretary Evie
Amelio.

Families that are chosen to be
a part of the program are picked by
school counselors and social workers
who have talked to students
about their situations.

“We choose students based on
need, students that we know are
going through financial hardships,
you know, maybe their families are
having medical issues. Anybody
that we feel like needs a little extra
help this holiday season,” said social
worker Alyssa Albertini.

The goal is to make a family’s
holiday special because these families
might not even get to have a
proper holiday due to their situation.

“If you have a choice between
‘do we keep our heat on this month
or do we have a Christmas,’ you’re
going to keep your heat on in the
winter. But that might mean that
there are no gifts,” Amelio said.

The program doesn’t just
help those in need; it gives others
a chance to have the joy in helping
bring happiness to people who
need it. The holidays are not about
receiving, they are about giving.

“I like to choose the really
practical needs, so blankets or
clothing, things that are truly essentials
that some families just
don’t have the resources to purchase.
Those are the items that I
feel like make more of a difference
in their lives,” Albertini said

Many people don’t realize just
how big of a difference they make
by giving hats or gloves, but for
people in need, it goes a long way
and means a lot to them that they
get what they need.

“I mean we got clothes and
blankets, things to keep me warm.
It meant a lot and showed that
people cared,” said a student who
wished to be kept anonymous.

The ornaments will be hung
up in the offices of the schools, and
gifts will be delivered during and
after finals.

“We invite
families that
are in need of
assistance,”
said Dean Secretary
Evie Amelio

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Holiday Help Program focuses on struggling families