LA juniors MacKenzie Ford (L) and Tommy Thelander (R) help pack food boxes at St. Patrick’s Church as part of the Thanksgiving Basket Project organized by the Ecumenical Food Pantry and People to People. Lincoln Academy students are volunteering for many organizations this holiday season. Photo courtesy of Missy Abbott.

Of Lincoln Academy’s more than 40 student clubs, nearly half do some sort of volunteering as part of their club activities. These service clubs range from Habitat for Humanity, which plans and executes service trips to build houses in locations in the US and abroad, to the service sorority, Sigma Sigma Chi, and fraternity, Alpha Sigma Gamma, who help out with community needs closer to home, to the Climate Action club, which works on making the LA campus greener.

During the Holiday season many of these students groups have been active in projects ranging from food and coat drives to raising funds for local nonprofits. This year the Junior Class organized holiday baskets for the Ecumenical Food Pantry that included ‘everything but the turkey’ and could be distributed to families. Alternative Education students, Alpha Sigma Gamma, Interact Club, and Sigma Sigma Chi all volunteered last week at the Thanksgiving basket assembly and distribution center at St. Patrick’s Church, helping to prepare baskets for distribution through the food pantry and People to People.

“We helped count and sort donations, and the next day we loaded boxes onto trucks, and delivered them to the various towns,” explained Anna Myers, an Alternative Education teacher who helped with the basket distribution. “The other community volunteers emphasized that they were really glad to have students who could jump in and out of the truck beds, lift the heavy boxes etc. When I asked the students, they also felt that this was how they were most helpful.”

“My observations were that students were excited to help, quick to organize, and very helpful on site doing a variety of projects,” commented Jake Abbott, Lincoln Academy’s Dean of Students, who coordinates LA’s various service projects. “It was a true example of ‘many hands make light work.’”

In addition to the Thanksgiving Basket project, the National Honor Society organized a holiday food drive earlier this month, and Sigma Sigma Gamma and the Interact Club are currently collecting coats and other warm clothes for Coats for Kids. Members the Interact Club also participated in the Rotary Food Insecurity drive, a bell ringing campaign that benefits local food pantries.

Even before the holiday season, LA students have been actively participating in community service. Lincoln’s 90 residential students do service as part of their orientation in September, helping with trail work at local land trusts, coaching soccer at the Y, and participating in other projects. The Lincoln Area Community Fundraising Organization (LACFO) has already raised more than $1000 for local nonprofits (including the Lincoln County Animal Shelter and Coastal Kids Preschool). The Student Council ran a successful blood drive in October, and students helped out at various Pumpkinfest events. Students helped two families in need of support around the house in preparation for winter. LA Students have also participated in statewide, national, and international causes including the Yellow Tulip Project, Crutches for Africa, and a Halloween collection for UNICEF.

“Our students are active in service year round,” said Abbott. “We are proud to be instilling a service ethic in every graduate of LA as it teaches responsibility, empathy and builds resiliency.”