By Zach Lichter
2020 has taken a toll on our daily lives. It has affected many physically, mentally and, most of all, financially.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit back in March, unemployment rose dramatically. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that New Jersey had the highest unemployment rate in the country as late as November 2020. Many people who were non-essential workers were scared about being laid off because they didn´t know when they would ever go back to work.
Across the country, people have been helping struggling families by volunteering at food banks and having people donate gift cards so struggling families can buy essential goods. One of the ways Wall High School got involved was with its student-run fundraiser, Project Snowflake. It has proven more important than ever because there have been a lot of Wall families who are in need during the holidays and the school year.
“Project Snowflake is special every year. Ms. Lucas and I were a bit worried that we wouldn't be able to help as many families as we did in the past prior to COVID,” said Wall Family Liaison Counselor Mr. Ivan Goldenberg. “Fortunately, people really were generous and actually reached out to us looking to donate to those less fortunate in Wall.”
In November, the Wall High School Peer Leaders ran a Be Kind fundraiser. They wanted to spread the message to being kind while actually helping with a true act of kindness. Students and staff members had the opportunity of purchasing a “Wall Be Kind” mask or a plain “Be Kind” mask on the Wall High School Be Kind store through RKE Athletic. The masks cost $10 and all the proceeds went towards Project Snowflake.
“We did have the Be Kind mask fundraiser which did provide some additional funds. We are very grateful as some local businesses, staff members, students, community members, the Township of Wall and Recreation department, our own families and friends have all helped with donations and to get the word out,” said Wall High School Psychologist Ms. Danielle Lucas. “Therefore we have been very humbled by and grateful for the gift cards and funds that have been donated and donations still keep coming in.”
Numerous staff members have been able to find other ways that they can still support Project Snowflake even though it’s difficult to hold fundraisers. Students and staff members can donate gift cards in any amount. The most-needed gift cards are from Visa, Walmart and Target. ShopRite, Foodtown and Acme gift cards are also needed as well.
This year, approximately 90 students have been helping out with Project Snowflake by assisting during the holidays. Now more than ever people have been helping out as this is a year when many people are in need.
“It is so great to see the spirit of giving that is represented through Project Snowflake,” Mr. Goldenberg said. “I like that people still think about others less fortunate during a time where you would expect the vast majority of folks concerned about their own well being (rightfully so) during this pandemic. I am honored to work in a town where empathy and generosity exist.”
This holiday Wall High School has been grateful for many people’s support. The people at Project Snowflake said they wish to truly thank everybody for helping them make a difference and also spreading some kindness as they help struggling Wall families navigate through a difficult year.