Pennies for Presents

Section Writer: Hannah Suh

Christmas time is about spending time with family, eating good food, celebrating religions, and finally, presents! What feels better than receiving presents? Giving them! There is nothing better than seeing the smile on a loved one’s face when they open the present that you hand picked, thinking of them and them only. In the spirit of Christmas, Woodstock High School decided to raise money for presents for kids that are not fortunate enough to receive some this time of the year.


Pennies for Presents took place throughout Nov. and Dec. First period teachers were asked to encourage their students to donate any spare change they had in their cars, in their drawers at home, or at the bottom of their wallets in which they knew they were not going to use or cash in. Donations were not limited to just change, but any amount was appreciated! Steve Epperson, a Woodstock High School Physics teacher, reports how in order to encourage his first period to donate, “I actually did very little motivating other than encourage the kids to skip the Starbucks and Chik-Fil-A for a couple of weeks and put that money towards the presents. This is for kids who have nothing and that it was important. They simply did the rest.”


Mr. Epperson’s first period class was the class to reach the highest amount of donations, collecting over $260 in total, resulting in a rewarding, home cooked breakfast that was held on Dec. 13. Although the breakfast was a reward to those who raised a lot of money, it was not the pushing force to donate, for many students were told by their teachers how much deeper the meaning was; so many kids out there were not able to receive the presents that many of us were able to receive in abundance, year by year. After seeing that his class period was in the lead, he stated that, “I was surprised. After the first week’s results it was obvious we were doing well, but then they tripled their giving the second week. It was really cool.”


Everyone has some type of jar or compartment that collects coins day by day

Photo courtesy of: J.D Roth; Obtained by: Hannah Suh


Along with his students, Mr. Epperson brought in his own jar of change collected from his household to donate. He affirmed that, “It’s easy to give during the holidays and it’s great that the kids are able to enjoy Christmas with everyone else. The thing to remember is there are people that need food, school supplies, warm clothes and coats and other things throughout the year. So, whenever these types of opportunities come up, we have a responsibility to help out.” Many organizations and clubs can agree with this statement. For example, our Woodstock High School Elves Club worked hard to also fund raise for buying presents for children. They sold Pura Vida bracelets throughout the past few weeks in order to raise enough money for this most worthy cause.


It might be difficult to get yourself involved in organizations that work for these causes, perhaps due to busy schedules or limited information, but this fundraiser was a great opportunity to involve everyone. There was no set amount that was needed to donate, so students did not feel limited or obligated. The reason the fundraiser was named “pennies for presents” was not just for the alliteration effect, but to spread the message that even a few pennies could help. This allowed anyone to be able to donate, bringing in more people into the giving spirit.


If this fundraiser has gotten you into the giving spirit, then here are some organizations to enlighten you on how many opportunities there are to give back to your community there are. You could donate a dollar to the red bucket often seen, accompanied by a volunteer ringing a bell, outside of retail stores. This is set up by the Salvation Army Christmas Charity. This organization helps out with Christmas dinners, along with clothes and toys. The Holiday Project is a hands on opportunity where one can make connections to those who are cooped up for the holidays, whether it be in nursing homes or institutions. Be an Elf is an organization for those who have kids and cannot provide presents for them. The kids would be allowed to write a letter to Santa, stating any other brothers and sisters that share the same conditions in which they do. Toys for Tots is also a great organization, focusing on giving kids toys and happiness.

There are so many organizations to get involved with!

Photo courtesy of: Lovetoknow ; Obtained by: Hannah Suh


Mr. Epperson gave a great quote, saying how, “This is what the holiday season is all about. The saying is true – It’s better to give than to receive.” I could not have said it better myself. It is so important that we as humans focus on helping others, not just during the holiday season, but throughout our everyday lives. Let the spirit of giving reside in all of us this holiday season!


Already preparing presents under the tree!

Photo courtesy of: Hannah Suh


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