January 11, 2022
Fairview High School students and staff continued a tradition of giving this holiday season as the school organized gifts and meals for families in need.
For the past four years, Family and Community Engagement Coordinator Carrie Sullivan has worked to organize the efforts at the building. This year, over 15 families with children enrolled in the school received help directly from this initiative.
“I send a letter at the beginning of November, just asking families if they want help for Christmas with gifts and also meals,” Sullivan explained. “They send it back with their needs, and then I pick from the list because sometimes the lists get overwhelming. I try to have it so that everyone has at least three gifts. I try to make it something that they need and then something they want, which is kind of fun.”
After identifying the list, Sullivan enlists the help of Fairview High School staff and students to collect the donations. Student groups like the Mosaic Club, Key Club, middle school student council, and even the cheerleading team made donations this year. Staff at the building also made several generous donations, so the list fills up quickly with donations.
“No one thinks anything of it,” Sullivan expressed. “They decide, ‘Boom, I want to make this many donations,’ and then they just do it.”
In addition to the holiday gifts, families also were given donations to ensure they had a meal during the holiday season.
“With COVID and stuff, what most everybody is doing now is gift cards,” Sullivan said. “They are getting gift cards to Bob Evans, or Giant Eagle, where the families then can go shopping for the Christmas meal.”
This holiday season also was a first for Sullivan, as two families requested help getting Christmas trees to decorate. Thanks to a generous donation from the Rocky River Home Depot, Sullivan was able to help make a more memorable holiday season for each family.
“The next Monday, I got an email from the one Mom, saying it was the best joy of her one weekend, seeing her kids smile while decorating a tree,” Sullivan expressed. “I mean, how can you not love that, you know?”
“Throughout each year, the students and staff at Mayer Middle School and Fairview High School consistently come forward to help those in need,” Chris Vicha, principal at Fairview High School said. “It is especially evident around the holidays with the outpouring of donations involving clothing, food and gift cards for those in our community who are struggling right now. It is a testament that we truly are ‘One Warrior Nation’.”
As the holiday season comes to a close, Sullivan is reminded why she is so grateful each year for this initiative.
“This is my favorite time of the year because I’m the lucky one that gets to see both sides of this,” Sullivan said. “I get to watch the staff and our groups and clubs around here be so generous. And then I get to see the smile on the families’ faces, that they are going to be able to have a Christmas. I feel like the luckiest person.”