Mandy Pendery and Yan Wang gather up friends and holiday cheer to make this winter season one of the best for impoverished children around the world

By Will Seymour

Parents flock to national retailers to get deals and steals on Black Friday, and the days leading up to the holidays while some families in distant countries cant even afford gifts for their family members.

As the winter holidays grow closer and closer, the daunting task of parents providing presents for their children is an ever growing task. With this year’s economy downturn, many parents and children alike are not aware of what they are going to do to make ends meet at the end of the year. The ever pressing fact of third-world countries not being able to afford even basic necessities has made one group of students at UAHS take charge of the situation by introducing “Holiday Club” onto the list of countless other extracurricular activities the school has to offer.

These students are Mandy Pendery and Yan Wang, two girls with extraordinary expectations for the club. Pendry thinks that the club “would appeal to a large group of people beacause so many people like holidays”. The large group attendence was key in doing something for the club. With almost 60 in attendence at the first meeting, children had to sit on the floor after the seats were filled. Jobs were appointed, and many volunteers began working diligently to get assigned tasks completed. In light of our economy (nothing good can be said about it), and the economic issues of other countries, Pendry and Wang thought they would start “Holiday Club” a place where people can come to learn about such issues, build friendships and help others during the holidays, all throughout the year, not just the winter.

Laura Kington, appointed treasurer, and active member of the group gives her idea on what the money raised from bakesales (over $400) is going to be used for. “This money is going towards Project Christmas Child, so we’re going to go shopping and put together boxes of gifts to send through the organization to kids in other countries who don’t get an oppurtunity to receive Christmas gifts.” Samaritan’s Purse and Project Christmas Child are nondenominational evangelical Christian organizations providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine.

Earnings for the groups are high. Students organized a three on three basketball tournament, including students, parents and teachers alike. Prinipal Kip Greenhill has even decided to volunteer his time by helping refferee at the game. Kington gives other idea’s that she has to expand the group.

“I think we’ll have fun oriented activities in addition to charity, like an egg nog social! Just kind of a few get-togethers with movies or food, games and the likes,” Kington said. “[They’d be] open events; we aren’t too picky about who is in the club or what being “in” the club entails. Anyone can come to any events they choose, but obviously, we hope people will stick around and participate not just in the fun things, but the things that are going to be helping others too.”

Tang said the reason that made her join the group was “the idea that you can try and help those who are less fortunate enjoy the holidays a little more.”

This rings true for all the members of the group, which tops at 77 on the social networking site, Facebook. Although the club meets at the high school, supervised by social studies teacher Christine Hayes, clubs don’t normally reach such a high number so quickly. On the first day of meeting for the club, members had to sit on the floor for lack of tables and desks.

Many school clubs come and go each year, and many don’t have an effect on anything being changed at the highschool, let alone the world. Two brave girls, and countless other students have chosen to spend their time after school, making things better for others. With such a big turn out, speculators should remember that giving is really better than getting during the holiday season.