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BC supports its mission with a season of giving

Filed in Archive by on December 31, 2019

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Part of the mission of the Bethlehem Central School District is to ensure Bethlehem students are engaged members of the community. During the month of December, students, staff and families demonstrated their commitment to the community with an outpouring of support and care for their neighbors.

In the first two weeks of December, the entire school community pitched in with enough donations to fill 500 holiday food bags as part of the district’s annual Holiday Caring and Sharing Drive. Each school and every department filled dozens of huge boxes with requested non-perishable food items. Staff members from the district’s Operations & Maintenance team collected the boxes from each location and delivered them to the high school, where they were organized and bagged by members of the BCHS Student Senate.

On Saturday, December 14, district administrators and building principals organized delivery of the holiday bags, and gift cards, to nearly 100 district families.

Donations to the Holiday Caring and Sharing Drive came from both families and local businesses, who contributed gift cards for families in need. Some of these included donations from the Bethlehem Preschool, SABIC Innovative Plastics, Delmar Reformed Church, the Bethlehem YMCA, the Delmar Rotary, the Bethlehem Police Department, the Bethlehem Community Fund and the Daley Family.

Staff members also contributed. This year, as in past years, members of the district’s Transportation Department held a special auction to support the Caring and Sharing program. A handful of employees volunteer to make centerpieces, wreaths and other decor that were auctioned off at the department’s annual Holiday Luncheon. This year, the auction — along with the sale of new Transportation Department t-shirts and sweatshirts — raised more than $1,000 that was donated directly to the Caring and Sharing fund.

Bethlehem students and their families also made sure there were toys for children whose families were celebrating special holidays this month. On Monday, December 16, members of the Class of 2020 at Bethlehem Central High School loaded a van full of more than 500 toys, games, dolls, trucks and more that were donated to children and families in need through the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program. Students, staff and families contributed to the Toys for Tots Drive over a two-week period. The toy collection is an annual holiday effort by members of the Senior Class Council at the high school. 

One of the biggest surprises of the season was a donation of more than $6,000 from the Bethlehem Police Officers Union that will be used to support BC programs and students. The police donation, which came as the result of a Holiday Raffle spearheaded by former BCHS resource officer Detective Chad Rice, included nearly $1,200 for a new refrigerator that will be used by the BC Backpack Program.

The Backpack Program is run by the BCHS Student Senate and provides food on weekends and during school breaks to prevent food insecurity for more than 70 students districtwide. The refrigerator will allow the program to expand its offerings to include fresh produce, yogurt and more.

Around the district, some other community service efforts included:
  • Hamagrael Elementary families donated more than 225 gifts and toys as part of the annual Adopt-an-Angel program
  • Elsmere Elementary School raised more than $2,000 as part of their Read for Ronald effort. The money raised will support the Ronald McDonald House in Albany.
  • Slingerlands Elementary School held a Coins for Caring Drive
  • Glenmont second graders toured neighborhoods singing carols and raising money for the Ronald McDonald House

Thank you to all who made the 2019 holiday season a special one! See you in 2020.