~They may look like regular school boys dressed in navy jackets and grey pants but to the people they help, they are heroes.
For eight straight years, the students of St. Andrew’s College and their families, together with staff and faculty, have embraced the Holiday Heroes program—shopping, wrapping, and loading gifts for those who need a helping hand during the holiday season. The cumulative value of SAC donations now exceeds $900,000.
On Monday, the third and final truckload of gifts was delivered to the York Region Children’s Aid Society’s (CAS) depot in Newmarket. The trucks were packed full of clothing, toys, toiletries, diapers, household items, and gift cards, all of which will be distributed in time for Christmas to more than 230 families as well as youth age 14-19 who live independently.
Melissa Tackaberry has served as SAC’s Faculty Coordinator since day one and shops year round for specials so every dollar received will stretch as far as possible. She modestly deflects praise for the success of this effort back to the students.
“Giving to Holiday Heroes has become ingrained in the School’s culture,” says Melissa. “It’s almost running like clockwork now.” She loves that the boys take special care to buy wished-for gifts for ‘their families,’ often for children no older than themselves.
“It is truly overwhelming what comes from St. Andrew’s,” says Leslie Humphrey, Holiday Heroes Program Coordinator for York Region CAS. “When the families come in to CAS to pick up their packages, it is a humbling experience. These families would not have a Christmas if they did not receive these donations.”
“As long as a need exists, we are committed to help,” states Headmaster Kevin McHenry. “As a community we are blessed and to be able to bring some joy to others less fortunate during the holiday season is a meaningful lesson for us all.”
Story by Cindy Veitch, Communications Officer