For most people, the holidays are a time filled with happy festivities, traditions, home cooked feasts and the giving and receiving of gifts. Many low-income families may not be able to afford the costs of the holidays. That is why the freshman ASB started the Giving Tree.
The Giving Tree was set up in the front window of the main entrance. Leaves with gift requests from students and families of MTHS who are having hard times covered the window. There were over 200 leaves to start on that tree, numbering about 30-40 families. Everyone in the family got their own leaf including the parents.
“The Giving Tree is benefitting families in our community, where at least one of the kids goes to Mountlake Terrace or Brier Terrace and then we’re trying to help the whole family, so that’s why you’ll probably see things in there for parents, for little kids, everybody. We want to make sure the whole family has something for the holidays, for winter,” MTHS family advocate Ashley Johnson said.
There were over 100 gifts donated. There were also cash donations so gifts that had not been donated could be purchased and then given to families in need. The support from Mountlake Terrace was huge.
“Some of [the gift requests] are things that people want like games or a basketball, and there are other ones that people actually need like jackets and hats and scarves that they can’t afford,” freshman ASB representative Ali Hitchcock said.
The Giving Tree started because a lot of families weren’t able to get things from Salvation Army or Saint Vincent De Paul, organizations set up to help those in need, so the freshman ASB decided to help out those families as well as others who simply couldn’t afford to buy presents of their own.
Presents were collected until Dec. 14, wrapped on Dec. 15 and given to families on Dec. 16. Everything was done confidentially. “We want it to be anonymous,” Johnson said. “[We want] people [to] feel comfortable asking for help.”
The Giving Tree may become a MTHS tradition for the years to come, “I think the giving tree was a really good idea and that it should be a tradition because it really helps people out,” Hitchcock said. In a time that is so joyful for many, it is great to see the community coming together to help those who need it.
“I have been so impressed by how caring Mountlake Terrace [is]. So many people want to help and I think that is huge because sometimes we forget that the person sitting next to [us] may be in need…it’s been really awesome to see how much Terrace really cares about people.” Johnson said.