St. Clair Township schools have come through big-time for the area’s annual Operation Christmas Tree food and toy drive.
“Being such a small community, it’s something that we are all passionate about,” said Wendy West, a teacher at Sir John Moore school, where staff and students got creative with their donations. “We tried to figure out a way to continue it during Covid.”
Schools in St. Clair Township typically collect non-perishable donations to help fill holiday hampers for families in need. But pandemic restrictions meant students weren’t permitted to bring donations to school.
“We found a way around that by having teachers volunteer their time every morning, collecting and loading all the donations into their vehicles,” said West.
“Students still brought their items and dropped them off to a staff member outside, before school.”
The food was brought home and kept in the garages of staff members. In two weeks, 2,750 items were collected, far surpassing last year’s tally.
“We knew the need was greater this year and the kids were so excited to get involved,” said West. “We are beyond thrilled.”
Operation Christmas Tree president Stan Marsh said the effort was welcome, but not a surprise.
“The schools support us really well,” he said, adding that Corunna’s Colonel Cameron organized a similar food and toy drive. Other area schools encouraged gift cards and monetary donations.
“They’re all helping out in some way,” he said.
Donations will go to the community food bank at Corunna’s St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, which operates year-round.
Marsh noted local service clubs have also stepped up.
“We usually kick off Operation Christmas Tree with the Poor Boy Luncheon at the Legion,” he said. “Instead, they organized a drive-by turkey dinner that sold out in one day.”
The Knights of Columbus also organized a drive-through breakfast, serving 500 take-out meals in just three-hours.