The holidays will be merry and bright for many families in the Midlands this year with the help of holiday giving projects that were organized by Richland Two schools. Each of the district's five high schools in cooperation with elementary and middle schools, successfully held student-led service projects designed to encourage them to explore, understand and address the needs within the community.

The schools collectively gathered 42,198 non-perishable food items, 38,633 meals, $21,518 in monetary donations, 3,850 toiletries, 1,765 books, 627 pairs of socks, 530 toys, 75 book bags, 57 scarves, 51 bikes, 35 washcloths, 321 gift sets, games, and other requested items; 200 holiday cards, and 121 pints of blood. Schools also sponsored 52 children and adopted 68 families.

The donations will be given to a variety of organizations within the community, including Harvest Hope Food Bank, Rise Against Hunger, Make-A-Wish, Sistercare, Habitat for Humanity, Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services (PAALS), Wanna Buddy, Prisma Health Children’s Hospital, the Harmony Collection at Columbia, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, and WIS-TV Families Helping Families program. Richland Two employees at the District Office also contributed by filling holiday wish lists for 13 families in the district.

Each school has a unique name for their holiday fundraisers: Holiday Wishes at Blythewood High, HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere) 365 at Richland Northeast High, Winter Wishes at Ridge View High, Winter Days at Spring Valley High and W.O.W. Wishes of Westwood at Westwood High. Many of these programs have expanded into year-long drives that involve not only goods but also community service.

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