“Make a Difference Day” Promotes Acts of Kindness and Generosity

Robert Barthell and Lauren Sturgell

Two student-based organizations will host events this Saturday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon, giving students the opportunity to show their appreciation for the community and help those in financial need.

The timing of the events connects with “Make a Difference Day,”  which the student body was made aware of in AACP classes this week.

The Orbit, N.J.S.D.’s official charitable organization, will be running a donation drive.  In an email sent to all NHS staff, group adviser Mrs. Chris Christensen outlined plans for how it will operate.  For the aforementioned 3 hour timespan, anyone who would like to donate items can drive up to Door 3 and drop them off.  As donated items are subsequently stored in a non-refrigerated area, at this time Orbit is only accepting non-perishable food items and select household items.

Accepted non-perishable food items include: mac and cheese cups and boxes, fruit cups, pudding cups, canned fruit, canned ravioli, spaghetti or ramen noodles, peanut butter, cereal boxes, granola bars, pasta sides and canned vegetables.

Accepted household/personal hygiene items include: laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner sets, disinfectant wipes, first aid supplies, body wash, lotion and deodorant.

A more detailed list can be found at the Orbit’s official page on the N.J.S.D. website.

Mrs. Christensen clarified the purpose of the Orbit :  “Any student or family in need throughout the Neenah Joint School District can reach out to their school counselor and request any non-perishable food items, household items, personal care items, or items of clothing.  The closet is 100 percent stocked through donations from our schools and community and all items go directly back to those in need throughout our entire District.”  

Furthermore, she confirmed that items can actually be donated to Door #3 at any time; there is also the possibility of tax-deductible monetary donations through the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

Sources of Strength, a nationwide club with a branch at NHS, will simultaneously be hosting a series of gratitude events in the school cafeteria in accord with Make a Difference Day.

According to their official website, Sources of Strength is a “universal suicide prevention program designed to build socioecological protective influences around youth and to reduce the likelihood that vulnerable youth/young adults will become suicidal.”  With a focus on improving the mental health of students involved, a PDF file details the activities they have planned for that day.  These include: Planting a flower garden, Painting inspirational message rocks, Creating cards for healthcare workers, and a series of other things.  Participants have a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, as well as miscellaneous beverages and snacks.

A hallmark of the event are the origami cranes, which have already started making their way into classrooms around the school.  According to SoS adviser Mrs. Beth Altekruse, “Neenah High School is very excited to be pairing with Thedacare for Making a Difference Day. Thedacare provided an activity where our students learned how to make origami cranes that they could give to a person of strength in their life.” Additionally, she clarified that  “Saturday we have activities that students can take part in to give back and express our gratitude to others.”