(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 20, 2013)
The gymnasium of Webb Elementary School was full of clothing, food and gifts last week as the HP Holiday Committee prepared for the arrival of over 300 families to serve. The tradition dates back 30 years, with businesses and volunteers working together to make sure Hazel Park families are cared for during the cold, and often challenging, holiday season.
Barbara Winter was one of dozens of volunteers. “We do not have a Salvation Army or other type of food banks in HP so we are helping less privileged residents with their holidays necessitates. Only HP residents or families with children attending HP Public Schools can apply for a basket,” Winter said. She was inspired to get involved by the committee’s co-chairs Sherrie Polowski and Laura LaForme, and all of the businesses that donated.
Among them was SERVPRO of Hazel Park who provided the sturdy boxes needed to set up the packages for each family, along with some of the surprises inside. They also were responsible for much of the driving to gather the items to be picked up, sorted and assembled into the baskets. Meijer in Madison Heights donated $3,000 in gifts. Families also received nonperishable food items, a Dearborn holiday ham, a gift card to Kroger, and the chance to pick out hats and gloves. Children received board games and books as well.
‘Despite winter conditions, it was heavily snowing on Saturday, all baskets were picked up,” Winter said. “What is amazing is that the food part of the baskets is pre-assembled, but then the residents can “shopping style” pick up to their liking hats, mittens, boarding games and books for their children.”
To donate towards next year’s event or to find out about other ways to help families in Hazel Park, contact the Hazel Park School District at 248-658-5200.