Lower School Partners with Community Organizations for Day of Service

January 20, 2023—On the day following the last day of Semester 1 classes, Lower School students participated in a morning of community service activities in support of local organizations. Organized by parent volunteers, the community service day is an annual tradition for the Lower School. Students came together on and off campus Friday morning, assembling and decorating birthday boxes for children, donating and organizing clothing, and working in the kitchen to prepare meals for individuals in need. 

Classes I and II gathered on campus to assemble boxes for Birthday-in-a-Box, for the Birthday Wishes organization, which provides birthday party supplies to children and families experiencing homelessness. Leading up to Friday, students and parents gathered the necessary materials — brightly-colored wrapping paper, box cake mixes, frosting, cake pans, candles, balloons, plates, napkins, and tablecloths, to decorate and fill the boxes for children ages six to 13, and everyone had a lot of fun wrapping the boxes. 

Class III gathered in Dracut, MA, where students volunteered in shifts for Catie’s Closet and Room to Grow. Members of the Winsor community had the opportunity to donate items, such as clothing and toiletries throughout the week to support both organizations. From their website, Catie’s Closet improves school attendance and graduation rates, as well as the mental, emotional, and physical health of students facing poverty, homelessness, and other crises by providing free, in-school access to clothing and basic necessities and uniting with community partners to meet students’ other immediate needs. Room to Grow provides parents and caregivers with essential baby and toddler items, strategies and support to promote their children’s development, and connections to community resources that can meaningfully expand their support network.

Closeby to Winsor, Class IV students were in Jamaica Plain volunteering at Community Servings, a non-profit organization whose mission is to actively engage the community to provide scratch-made medically tailored meals to individuals and their families experiencing critical or chronic illness and nutrition insecurity. The organization makes and delivers more than 1,000,000 meals annually. 

“It was cool to go behind the scenes and team up with classmates to package food,” remarked one Class IV participant. “It was pretty fun and a unique experience.”

“It was interesting to see the process of how the food went from shipping boxes/just made to individually packaged for the clients,” observed another classmate. 

The day was made possible by the Parents’ Association Liaisons for Community Service and Communications Rachel Xu P ’28 and Allyson Bloom P ’29 with support from Director of Engagement and Events Becky Withiam, Assistant Director of Family Engagement Essence Denton, and the many parent volunteers who offered their time and energy organizing, informing and chaperoning. Said Ms. Denton of the day’s events, “I couldn't help but smile every time I walked down the Lower School hallway Friday morning and heard all the laughter along with the festive birthday boxes [the students] created. Many students at dismissal mentioned that they now understand that gift wrapping isn't as easy as it may look!”