Cedar Springs has holiday helpers too

1

Alex Vega ’13
Staff

Christmas morning is of the most exciting days for everyone. Everyone has that chipper feeling. There are items wrapped perfectly, extravagant papers, and glistening bows. The holidays are a great time to receive, but they’re also a time to give. A time to give to families who may have little to nothing or who just need a little help to get through the holidays. Giving to those less fortunate than you gives you a chance to feel that warm compassionate feeling of knowing that you’re helping someone in need.

For two Cedar Trails Elementary staff members, giving during the holidays is one of the greatest feelings ever. They feel compelled to do something.

“Every day, the needs of the kids is just so present. I feel it’s not something that I can’t ignore. I see these needs. I hear the difficulties that these kids face on a daily basis, whether it’s a broken home or something happening to a parent, and I feel that the least I could do is provide them with basic needs,” says Cedar Trails speech pathologist, Krista Olszewski.

For these two, giving is an alternate way to show affection.

Shoppin’ it out: Brad Holmes, pastor for Union at Ada Bible Church preps his group to head into the aisles of Meijer to shop. This group helped sponsor several CSPS families in need this Christmas.

Shoppin’ it out: Brad Holmes, pastor for Union at Ada Bible Church preps his group to head into the aisles of Meijer to shop. This group helped sponsor several CSPS families in need this Christmas. Photo by Colin Wade.

“[Holiday giving] is just another way to hug. Anytime I can hug someone, I’m up for it,” says Cedar Trails secretary, Carrie Mellema.

The process of identifying students with great need is done by teachers and other staff members at Cedar Trails. Then the students’ families are called to see if the families are receptive. The staff then gets a list of needs from the families, and those lists are provided to sponsors. Sponsors contribute the items to families in need. Sponsors then provide a variety of different items.

“Any essentials, boots, coats, hats, mittens, shoes, socks [are provided] first; then I get a list of wants and the sponsor does what they feel [is enough]. I even have a sponsor who is paying bills,” says Mellema.

Sponsors vary from individual families, local churches, small businesses, and different organizations. Sponsors show interest in wanting to help others.

“I work for a church, [and] in the past we did some fundraising. We encourage generosity. [Sponsoring] is really simple, we recognize who has needs. [Olszewski] brought it up that families were in need in the school district. You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone [and] be willing to step into something that may be sacrificial,” says Pastor for Union at Ada Bible Church, Brad Holmes.

The church that Holmes works at has done a big part to help families in need.

“Around five hundred people helped financially [and] twenty-five of us are did the shopping,” says Holmes.

Helping around the holidays spreads that warm cheerful feeling. Giving has a strong meanings for many.

Olszewski says “It’s  just an incredible blessing and opportunity that we have been given, and working here is more than a job. It becomes helping these kids feel better about themselves.”

One comment on “Cedar Springs has holiday helpers too

  1. Mr. Stu says:

    Great article, Alex — you rock.

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