Students and staff at New Trier Township High School have spent the past couple of months working on the Adopt-A-Family project, a Northwestern Settlement initiative that the school has supported for more than 30 years.
The program, also known as the Nush Holiday Project, has become a tradition at the high school, which takes service seriously. “It speaks to that piece of our motto — ‘to commit…lives to the service of humanity.’ That is living out that part of the motto,” said Stacy Kolack, activities coordinator.
Northwestern Settlement is a nonprofit organization located in and dedicated to helping the West Town neighborhood in Chicago.
A total of 87 student advisory rooms participated in the project, as well as other student clubs, teachers and staff groups. The students began fundraising earlier in the fall, holding bake sales or taking up collections. For example, two freshman advisories joined forces and held a root beer float sale. They raised more than $500 for the cause.
Nonperishable food items, toys and clothing are collected for 78 families who live in the West Town neighborhood and have been identified as needy by Northwestern Settlement. Students are given a wish list from each family, as well as clothing sizes, which they can use as a guide when gathering items. Rose Bacchus, a freshman at New Trier (and full disclosure, this reporter’s daughter) went shopping for the father of her assigned family, whose wish list included clothing, as well as car tools. Using $50 that her advisory had raised, Rose was able to purchase a warm flannel shirt, wool socks and a car tool kit.
On December 13-14, student volunteers wrapped gifts and food items, and then loaded more than 300 boxes onto a delivery truck at the Winnetka campus. This year a brand new bicycle was loaded onto the truck, as well as a new microwave. Every year Midwest Moving and Storage partners with New Trier, donating its moving trucks and boxes to the cause, Kolack said.
While every year the loading of the trucks is a little chaotic, according to Kolack, it is always a fun event that gets everyone in the spirit of giving.
“It’s a wonderful tradition and a nice way to support families who are struggling,” Kolack said.