Members of the Homewood Rotary got a few extra pairs of hands to help them giftwrap Christmas presents for students at Glenwood Academy.
Accompanied by teachers and other staff members, 13 students from James Hart School in Homewood spent several hours on Wednesday, Dec. 11, doing their best to wrap basketballs, slippers and other items from holiday wish lists of more than 150 students at the Glenwood residential school.
It is the 27th year the Rotary has taken on the gift giving for the Glenwood students, and Hart students have been part of the wrapping team for more than a dozen years. Hart School has an Interact Club, a youth group under Rotary. The sixth and seventh graders volunteering are all members of the club, said teacher Karen Gnatt.
“This is one of the most fulfilling and amazing projects that we do,” said Teri Brennen, treasurer of the Rotary club. In the coming week, Rotary will host a pizza party for the Glenwood students. Then Rotary members accompany students back to their cottages where the gifts are distributed and opened.
Brennen said the day is “so heartwarming, and (the kids) are so sincere. In many instances this is the only gift they’ll get, so it really means a lot to them.”
Gifts are purchased through the Homewood Rotary Foundation. In some cases, members will purchase gifts.
Hart sixth grader Alayna Frangella was done on the floor trying to figure out how best to wrap a round object. She was there as an Interact member and because “I just wanted to help.”
Dakota Hoekstra, another sixth grader, said, “I like wrapping presents, especially for other kids.” Brennen said Dakota “has been just phenomenal. All these kids are a big help.”
Gnatt, who sponsors the Interact Club with fellow teacher Monica Sendera, said the group does a special project seven times a year. They typically feature a holiday theme.
In November, for the Thanksgiving holiday, they made thank you cards for Hart staff and served donuts to faculty at the start of parent-teacher conferences.
In October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they raised $302 for the Cancer Support Center by selling pink pumpkin decals that went on display at the school.