La Salle’s Annual Christmas Drive Continues Despite COVID-19 Setbacks


Fia Cooper

Talking about the act of giving around the holidays, Director of Service Ms. Sarah Maher quoted Dorothy Day and said, “If you have two coats in your closet, one of them belongs to the poor.”

Paige Baines, Assistant Editor

This year’s annual Christmas Drive is going to look a little different. 

Typically, students participate in the drive with their Falcon Formation class, buying and wrapping gifts for children in need based on provided wish lists.

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and digital learning, it will be based through religious studies classes, and gifts are to be bought, wrapped, and dropped off or mailed to campus labeled with the child’s name as well as Director of Service Ms. Sarah Maher’s name.

There are two planned drop-off days: Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. where Ms. Maher, along with Spanish teachers Ms. Lisa Moran and Ms. Amy Gantt, will be collecting gifts at the front of the school.

If families are unable to make these dates, wrapped and labeled gifts can be dropped off at the front office with Office Secretary Ms. Rhonda Fisher. 

This year, Ms. Maher hopes there will be a “shift in the mentality of why we do this.”

[The goal] is to get the most amount of presence, and the most amount of families with La Salle students having more of a connection than they’ve had in years past,” Ms. Maher said, “knowing who they’re shopping for, a little bit of understanding of why the need is so great this year, and then just the prayers… Praying for the families by name.”

The bulk of the families receiving gifts this year come from La Salle’s neighboring school, Lot Whitcomb, and whoever wants to be on the receiving end of the drive from the Lot Whitcomb community can. The Lot Whitcomb counselors make sure to reach out to let people know they are welcome to join. 

On top of the usual Lot Witcomb families, the La Salle community will also be teaming up with an organization called The Insight Alliance to give presents to children with parents who are incarcerated, recently released, or returning to prison.

“It’s not black and white,” Ms. Maher said. “There’s a lot of gray areas when it comes to cyclical and generational poverty and injustice, so the lessons that we are trying to grow out in religious studies classes still would be applying to these kids of incarcerated parents.”

Ms. Maher pointed out that it’s important during this unusual and uncertain time to give to those who need it the most. 

“People who are working essential jobs or minimum wage jobs are being hit the hardest financially,” Ms. Maher said. “This year I hope for our students to kind of have a better understanding of how and why that’s impacting those who are already kind of hit hard financially, and that it’s not easy for people to call me and ask for Christmas presents. No parent wants to admit they need that kind of help for their kids, so just being as humble and kind as possible.”

Senior MaryGrace Mott, Officer of Service, believes that this kind of service is important to carry through our halls because it not only brings us to help others in need, but it relates back to one of our mottos, “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.”

“I think with our Lasallian education, service, faith, and community are all a huge part of that, and with this Christmas Drive, it’s bringing awareness to what deep down service really is,” Mott said.

Many families that the Christmas Drive helps are asking for essentials like mattresses, jackets, blankets, shoes, and diapers. These necessities are things that many of us don’t even think about, but that makes them even more important. 

“If you can, you should” donate, Ms. Maher said.

Mott believes that shoes are a gift that get forgotten about and taken for granted by those who are giving.

“It’s an item of security that we all have,” Mott said. “It’s often taken for granted and overlooked… when really even if it sparkles or is a [pair of] Twinkle Toes, it’s still going to be a great thing because it adds that level of security that we all have.”

Because of the level of importance of shoes and the usual lack of purchasing over the years, Ms. Maher has also asked La Salle alumni to donate shoes to families in need because they can get expensive, especially as kids grow into adult sizes. 

Both Ms. Maher and Mott encouraged students and their families to get involved and help those if you can.

“Dorothy Day said, ‘If you have two coats in your closet, one of them belongs to the poor,’” Ms. Maher said. “I’m definitely guilty of that, I have several jackets,” Ms. Maher said. “I think this is a time that we have really seen the cracks of our system where many people have a lot and many people don’t have anything. This is an opportunity for those of us with lots to give back.”

If you have any questions about the drive or other service-related events, you can contact Ms. Maher by email at [email protected].