Crisis during the holidays has been an everlasting issue for families across the globe, including ones in the North Clackamas District. Many students anticipate the school break that comes with the season, but for those on free and reduced lunch who depend on their school for a nourishing meal, the time of year is a trap-infested maze.
Free and reduced lunch is for kids whose parents qualify because of the annual amount of money that they earn each year and that meet all other guidelines set by the federal government. At Clackamas High School, 27% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. The program is very helpful in taking the stress off of being able to provide nutritional satisfaction, but what happens when school is out for the holidays and guaranteed meals aren’t an option?
According to an NPR article, “Roughly 1 in 5 families with children are not getting enough food” (For Many Kids, Winter Break Means Hungry Holidays). Without a sufficient quantity to eat, other problems come into action. An increase in illness, slower recovery times, weaker concentration, depression, and anxiety are a few effects that follow immense hunger. Nationwide fundraisers and organizations do everything in their power to help families in need. One well-known anti-hunger organization is The Hunger Project. The Hunger Project, founded in 1977, is “a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger” (The Hunger Project) that consists of more than 35, 948 volunteer leaders in 22 countries fighting for the cause. The organization works to improve hunger throughout the world by empowering women as key change agents, mobilizing communities for self-reliant action, and fostering effective partnerships with local government. An example of their work is found in Mexico and Peru, where they support community development initiatives and include a focus on childhood and maternal malnutrition. Although The Hunger Project may not be directly gifting basic-need materials to societies, they work through an innovative way of encouraging citizens to take action in the development and economic situations shrouding their communities.
Winter Rage, the biggest charity event of the year at Clackamas High School, provides families in the North Clackamas District with some of the necessities they need over the holidays. Winter Rage is a school-wide effort, with multiple clubs volunteering at and raising money for the event. Throughout every year, donations (clothes, toys, food, etc.) are collected and compiled on December 8th when families from each school in the district come and pick up whatever they need. Not only does Winter Rage make a positive impact on families, but it has an impact on volunteers as well. Julie Lely, the District Editor of Clackamas Key Club, believes that, “Winter Rage is a really good way to directly interact with people in need in your community… it’s a really unique connection that Winter Rage gives to volunteers as well as the families.” Lely remembers starting freshman year as very shy, and being a part of an interactive event and community helped with boosting her social confidence to the level she observed and admired in others. By being a part of Winter Rage, volunteers also acquire a sense of happiness and accomplishment that comes with helping others live a more joyful life. Daniel Huynh, another officer of Clackamas Key Club, shared the story of when, “one time we got this ‘thank you’ card that said ‘we can’t really afford the Christmas season. We really want to get gifts for our children and we couldn’t do it without Winter Rage.” Gratifying experiences such as this are what lead hundreds of volunteers to take action in the event each year.
Organizations, ranging from Clackamas High School Winter Rage to the global Hunger Project, take many steps towards improving hunger and crisis for families during the holidays as well as year-round. The time and effort that volunteers take greatly impact the lives of those in need of assistance and creates a closely-bonded community that helps to strengthen the content and happiness in many lives.
Learn more about this story by the reporter: https://bdmbarnes.podbean.com/mf/play/dhk8mb/Cassandra_Roshu.m4a