MCHS students help bring Christmas to Craig families in need |

MCHS students help bring Christmas to Craig families in need

Moffat County High School senior Ashley Derick kneels beside boxes full of food, basic necessities and gifts for seven Craig families, including handmade quilts made by sewing students for each child. Organized by Derick and Student Council, the adopt-a-family drive encouraged MCHS students to donate much-needed items to struggling families for Christmas.
Lauren Blair

— Seven Moffat County families’ Christmases were made merrier this year thanks to Moffat County High School students and Student Council.

Inspired by MCHS senior Ashley Derick, the adopt-a-family drive enlisted the help of MCHS students to provide basic necessities and Christmas presents to seven Craig families in need.

Derick said she found the families with the help of staff at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, who were able to select families based on income and family size who could benefit the most from the assistance.

Derick then teamed up with MCHS Student Council, led by adviser and MCHS science teacher Evan Gaffney, to encourage students to contribute to the cause.

“She gets the list of items the families want, and we help to get students signed up to bring things in,” Gaffney said.

Boxes lined the hallway outside the auditorium throughout the month of December, and each family was assigned to a grade level. Lists posted above the boxes detailed the items each family requested.

“When you see what’s on these lists, you say, ‘Really? Wow. That’s all it takes for these families to have a better Christmas,’” Gaffney said. “You’re not going to see Xboxes on any of these lists.”

Items on the list ranged from basic groceries like flour and sugar to household items such as garbage bags and toilet paper to Christmas gifts for the kids, like coloring books and remote-control cars.

For any items the students came up short on, Student Council opted to allot some of its activity budget to buy the remaining items on the list.

“We had decided this year that we wanted our charity to be locally focused anyway,” said Gaffney, who explained that every year, Student Council raises money for a charity it selects. Love INC will be the other recipient of their charity efforts next semester.

In addition to the items provided by students, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Kelly Pyper set her sewing classes to the task of making a specially designed quilt for each of the children in the families. The catering students made pies to contribute to the cause, and MCHS teachers topped it all off by signing up to provide a turkey or ham for each family.

On Friday, students wrapped each of the items and delivered them discreetly to the Boys & Girls Club of Craig. Parents, many of whom have children who regularly attend the club, secretly loaded up the presents and took them home.

“It was pretty neat,” said Gayle Kendall, with the Boys & Girls Club. “I started bawling when the high school kids got here with all the presents because it meant a lot that some of these kids would get Christmas that wouldn’t have gotten to normally.”

While the families remained anonymous to almost all who participated in the drive, Derick was one of few who knew their identities and got to be there when they picked up their gifts.

“It’s awesome. I love seeing it,” Derick said. “People get so excited about it. Sometimes, this is the only Christmas they get.”

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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