In a festive mood for giving; For 5 Days of Giving, AHS rallies up holiday spirit for good cause

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

While Austin High School students were settling down to have some lunch before going back to class, they had a chance to snap a picture with Santa Claus for a good cause.

The 5 Days of Giving fundraiser started on Monday, with Austin High School students partaking in holiday festivities such as dressing up in onesies and pajamas while taking photos with “Santa,” or in this case Hunter Guyette, a senior, taking on the persona of Jolly Ole’ Saint Nick, or purchasing some hot chocolate from the library.

This year, AHS Student Council, Youth Leadership and the National Honor Society decided to donate all proceeds to the Lunch Tray Project, the mission of which is to help families who miss qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunches by less than the cost of a school lunch each day for a school year.

Email newsletter signup

In order to qualify for the Lunch Tray Project and the funding disbursement, a family needed to have filled out an application for free or reduced lunch and have been denied. The distribution of proceeds would work something like this:

• If a family missed by $175 or less per family member, they receive enough money for a full year of lunches (170 days, thinking there would be absences and possible snow days). For the high school it’d be $442, Ellis Middle School with $425, and elementary schools at $408.

• If families missed qualifying by between $175 to $400, then they would receive $250, and if families missed qualifying between $400 to $455, they receive $150.

With this year’s 5 Days of Giving, the hope is to reach a segment of families who do not qualify for any support, such as rent or day care assistance, and are working families that don’t get much support elsewhere, said Sarah Bachmeier, an AHS senior and co-president of student council.

“Last time we helped Make a Wish which was pretty cool,” Bachmeier said. “It’s nice that the money is getting sent around locally. (5 Days of Giving) is going to be a fun week of outreach.”

Although 5 Days of Giving technically started this week, students have already been active in fundraising by handing out buckets during sporting events to encourage additional donations for their cause. Students have also organized various spirit days throughout the 5 Days of Giving for prompting more student participation, such as dressing up in pajamas and in winter outfits. Faculty also had an opportunity to pitch in $5 if they were interested in wearing jeans as opposed to standard attire, according to Katie Willrodt, senior and also co-president of student council.

“We wanted 5 Days of Giving to be like Homecoming Week and bring school spirit back during the winter,” Willrodt said. “Once Homecoming is done in October, that’s when we usually start getting things planned for 5 Days of Giving since it’s one of our biggest fundraisers and activities of the year.”

With all the holiday pizzazz, students also wanted to keep focus on who the money will benefit, especially during the holiday season.

“I really like reaching out into the community,” Bachmeier added.