For as long as I've been at The School, we've always had a pretty good program whereby we help our most needy families during the holidays so they can have a decent meal for Christmas and some gifts for the kids. The student council raises money, we beat the bushes for donations (some church groups donate quite a bit, as well as businesses), and we manage to take care of quite a few families every year. Heavens, one year my homeroom class even, on their own initiative, adopted a family and made sure that they had a nice Christmas. I was proud of them for doing that.
Unfortunately, every year as our free and reduced lunch numbers increase, so do the numbers of families we recommend. I think this year the team recommended about 15 kids, which is about 8 more than we've done in the past - and we're the small team this year. But let me tell you, these kids need the help. Badly.
One thing I just found out, however, is that we've developed a reputation. Apparently word has gotten out around town that The School does a really good job on taking care of our needy families and now people from all over town - from other schools in fact - are calling to be put on our list.
This absolutely floored me. Guidance Diva, who fields the phone calls for this program and who calls and confirms with all the families we recommend, mentioned that she's getting call after call after call from parents of students at other schools wanting to get in on our care packages. I could be wrong, but we were under the impression that the other buildings in the district pretty much did the same thing...in fact one high school not only has a program in place but each and every classroom is stocked with apples, crackers, and food just in case a kid is going hungry at lunch. All they have to do is ask.
It's nice, in a weird way, that people think we're doing a good job. However, it will take every penny we have to take care of our own students this year, let alone children from other buildings. You hate to turn them down, but we are. Our kids need to be taken care of first and foremost, and considering the increase in numbers, it's going to be a lot of work to see that this happens.
Still...you wish you could take care of them all.