NHS Helps Bring a Bright Holiday Season to Havertown

NHS+members+organized+gifts+for+the+annual+Gift+Drive+in+the+school+library.

Devona Jackson

NHS members organized gifts for the annual Gift Drive in the school library.

Nicole Rodriguez, Contributor

 
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The excitement surrounding the week of Thanksgiving is always increased by the National Honor Society Pie Sale. On the Tuesday before the holiday, Haverford students and faculty diligently unload truckfuls of Linvilla Orchards pies into the West Commons and sort the treats for NHS members to pick up after school. Then, as soon as the bell rings for the day, NHS members rush towards the auditorium in unruly streams to grab their pies and begin to deliver these delicacies in time for Thanksgiving. 

While the Pie Sale may appear to be the perfect way to enjoy an organic and homemade pie without having to bake one, it is much more than that to the Haverford community. Students, faculty, and community members recognize this event as the fundraiser for the National Honor Society Gift Drive which provides toys and necessities to district families during the holiday season.

Haverford’s NHS chapter, supervised by social studies teachers Devona Jackson and Michael Weinstock, is a group of students who are eager to grow academically while dedicating themselves to community service. The NHS never fails to meet and exceed its goals each year, especially during the festive time between Thanksgiving and winter break. Since the 1990s, the chapter has upheld a unique tradition with its annual Pie Sale and Gift Drive which enables it to help less fortunate families within the district.

Despite the many uncertainties that 2020 brought, the Pie Sale had unprecedented success. The contributions by both members and the community increased during this unusual year with the National Honor Society selling a record-high 2,200 pies, nearly 400 more than last year. NHS advisor Jackson said, We went from selling around 650 pies to selling 1,335 our first year with Linvilla [in 2013]. Each year it has increased and, as a result, not only do we sponsor the Annual Gift Drive but we also organize about 90 school supply kits each September for elementary, middle, and high school students.” 

So, what did the success of the Pie Sale and twists of the 2020 school year have in store for the Gift Drive? Jackson explained, “We were not able to collect donations from students in homeroom or advertise to the faculty as we have in the past. As a result, we didn’t get to collect “small” change from students and teachers, and we received fewer toy donations than last year. We still have a generous staff that helped us to provide gifts for 100 students. We also received a great deal of support from other clubs such as Student Senate, GirlUp, No Place for Hate, the Spanish Honors Society, and several others.” The heartwarming collaboration across the district raised the revenue to buy over 100 presents and accumulated toiletries, clothes, school supplies, and other provisions to be distributed.

In addition to presents, necessities such as clothes get distributed through the Gift Drive. (Devona Jackson)

For the final and most exciting step of the Gift Drive, each year NHS members shop for and wrap the requested presents. This year, the chapter was determined to see this stage through with the same detail as in years past. The NHS sign-up sheet for after-school shifts to help with the Gift Drive was released during the late morning of December 10th and was promptly filled by early afternoon. NHS members were eager to support the annual event and help spread cheer during the holiday season, especially to families who faced hardships due to the pandemic.

Then, Pennsylvania introduced new statewide health measures for the remainder of December and January, cancelling all extracurriculars, including the after-school operations of the NHS. However, the chapter was resilient in finding a solution that would uphold state orders as well as see the Gift Drive through both efficiently and correctly. As a result, the activities were rescheduled to occur during the school day. Then, the Nor’easter on December 16th led to the cancellation of classes on the following day. Although this created the long-lost joy of a snow day, it also eliminated an entire day of wrapping from the Gift Drive efforts. Consequently, the NHS was not able to wrap gifts this year.

Gifts were organized and distributed but not wrapped. (Devona Jackson)

As advisor Jackson said, “In the end, we were able to provide a wonderful set of gifts for each student in the Gift Drive, and we know that even in the middle of a pandemic, we made this holiday season a lot brighter for more than just the students in our Gift Drive . . . Everyone involved in the Pie Sale and the Gift Drive experienced some of the joy that comes with serving those in need, especially those in our community.”

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