Edwardsburg NHS students adopt families for Operation Christmas fundraiser

EDWARDSBURG — Members of Edwardsburg High School’s National Honor Society participated in the organization’s annual Operation Christmas fundraiser. Each student was assigned with adopting a family to raise money and to shop for. When the money was accounted for, the students were paired with Primary students from the families and helped them shop for their family members.

For NHS and class president Cassidy Martenson, secretary Chloe Bartz, and treasurer Maddy Nugent, the fundraiser was both rewarding and educational. The NHS students get to feel the pride of giving back to their community and to kids in need, but they also get to practice balancing shopping budgets, being judicious with spending, and finding creative ways to give and provide.

“Edwardsburg is such a small town. The people we’re helping are our neighbors, friends, and extended family,” Martenson said.

NHS helped 53 families, and an estimated 300 or so people with the fundraiser. The school alone raised about $5,000 aside from all of the outside donations contributed from local businesses and private donors. Each classroom at Edwardsburg High School had five days to raise $100, and every classroom well exceeded that number. The money was used to buy gifts, Christmas meals, and various necessities for the families and children. There was enough money left over after the shopping trip to provide over $100 in gift cards for each family.

The Operation Christmas mission is obvious to the NHS members who participated, but the long-term goal of the fundraiser goes beyond charitable giving. It’s about creating a legacy of caring for neighbors.

“It’s a way to set example for younger kids,” Nugent said. “Edwardsburg is an involved community. The schools are more than just the arts and sports, it’s about being involved in community that you live in.”

NHS supervisor Jeff Kozinski was proud not only of the students who helped and participated, but also of the community that supported them.

“It’s an important for process of these young adults going out into the community. They’re being rewarded, and their efforts are reinforced by community leaders. It reinforces their intent to help others and support their community,” Kozinski said.

Like many educators, Kozinski sees opportunities like Operation Christmas as learning experiences that are just as important as the learning experiences in classrooms.

“They get an idea of what it’s like being an adult — what it takes to put a roof over your head, and get the necessities for their families,” he said.

Kozinski and the NHS officers expressed their gratitude to the greater Edwardsburg community for the many contributions and gifts. Over 200 businesses gave to the fundraiser with both money and items for families. The support and encouragement from the school district also made the project possible.

“We want to give a special thanks to administration. The teachers here at the schools were very supportive,” Kozinski said. “The student body embraces event, and the administration couldn’t do it without them.”

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