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SOS spreads Christmas spirit by partying with needy kids

Sarah Diesing

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The following article was originally published by Sarah Diesing on Dec. 9, 1994 in Volume 27, Issue 6 of The Correspondent.  It is being republished as a part of the “Golden Years” segment, celebrating 50 volumes of The Correspondent.


For 26 years, the Hersey S.O.S. (Service Over Self) club has been serving the community at Christmas time by sponsoring parties and presents for needy children, along with senior citizens. The children are either homeless, have behavior problems, or are handicapped.

“I think the Christmas parties are a great idea. A person only has to spend very little on one gift, but that one gift brightens the Christmas of a needy kid,” said sophomore Gina Howell.

“We try to give kids an individual gift purchased and wrapped by a Hersey student,” said director of S.O.S. Wil Kozlowski.

The parties are held during the school day and run from December 8-16. For each of the 13 programs, a gift of eight to ten dollars is purchased for each child. “We try to individualize gifts to make every kid feel like the whole thing is done for him or her,” said Kozlowski.

The parties and entertainment are arranged by Hersey volunteers. Santa comes to each party, often dressed up as a “theme” Santa. Santa’s in the past have sang, played the guitar, played the piano, and there’s even been a “swimming Santa.”

“I feel really good about helping out at the Christmas parties. It really improves a needy child’s Christmas so much and provides them with presents they won’t get anywhere else,” said sophomore Meribeth Joseph.

Between 150-200 students from Hersey will help make to make 700 people’s holiday a little brighter. Students will only be able to miss one day a week to help out at the parties that are held at places like Miner School, Sandburg School, and Park Center.

“The Christmas parties are really great. They are exactly what Christmas is all about, the positive spirit and helping and caring about others,” said junior Mohammed Hasan.

After the parties are over, some special families will be taken care of by S.O.S. during Christmas break. They will be provided with toys and gifts.

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The student news site of John Hersey High School
SOS spreads Christmas spirit by partying with needy kids