Old People’s Christmas continues tradition of giving
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers flitted all around the Darlington High School gym on Saturday, December 12, packing groceries and household goods into hundreds of brown paper grocery bags, readying donation deliveries for the 36th Annual Old People’s Christmas food drive.
The hustle and bustle of delivery day is just the final component of the drive. It takes several weeks to organize donations from local businesses and private citizens, determine recipients, and recruit volunteers from the community and the DHS student body. Two of the drive’s organizers, Wanda Mercer and Debra Wallace, noted that finding volunteers for the Old People’s Christmas is actually pretty easy, since many volunteers make it a point to come back every year.
“My family has three generations here today – my mom is here and my daughter is here,” said volunteer Angie Campbell. “And sometimes my grandmother is here, so we’ve even had four generations helping at once.”
Volunteer Katie Shuler makes the drive to Darlington from Myrtle Beach every year, keeping up her volunteering tradition that dates back to 1995. She says her dedication owes partly to Mercer (who is retiring from her Old People’s Christmas duties this year), and partly to the irreplaceable feeling you get from helping others.
“I started doing this because my French teacher would give us five extra bonus points on our mid-term, but I just fell in love with it and I’ve been doing it ever since,” says Shuler.
Darlington High School principal Dr. Greg Harrison distilled the meaning of the event: “The impact this service activity has on students is one that is difficult to describe. There have been times that students leave the homes of those we have delivered to with humble hearts and tears in their eyes. There is nothing greater that man can do than to love and serve his neighbor, and DHS students learn this by participating in Old People’s Christmas.”
All told, this year’s food drive garnered over $5,000 in donations and served more than 100 elderly households in the Darlington area. Many of the elderly people helped by the Old People’s Christmas drive are housebound, on very limited fixed incomes, and when the weather turns cold they have to choose between heat, medicine, and food.
Sponsors and donations are needed to keep this giving tradition going. Checks should be made payable to Darlington High School (with a memo notation for the Old People’s Christmas Fund), and cash donations should be made directly to the high school. Anyone interested in helping can contact Debra Wallace 843-398-2796 or Ginger Hendricks 843-398-2724 for more information. Mobile users, please click link to see photo gallery: Old People’s Christmas 2015