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Shepard brightens holidays for 40 needy families

  • Written by Bob McParland

  After final exams, students andSCHIOOL-PAGE-3-col-SHEPARDShepard High School teacher Erin McLean checks her list as student and staff volunteers organize donated gifts and food for the Adopt-a-Family project. Submitted photo. teachers at Shepard High School did not race to the parking lot to leave for winter break. Instead, they went to work.

  With the school’s Multipurpose Room brimming with food, clothing, and gifts, volunteers made final preparations for Adopt-A-Family.
  The next day, when more than 40 families would pick up the donations, they would have little time to organize: Last-minute contributions would arrive, and sometimes a desperate parent would call to plea for help.
  Today they needed to lay out the room with the gifts and food for each family at every table. When families arrived to pick up, volunteers would just need to direct them to the right table.
  Teacher Erin McLean walked the room checking her list and answering every question from student and staff volunteers. Teachers Brad Fisher, Gina Hanna, and Courtney Siska helped direct traffic as donations arrived and staff members and students asked what goes where.
  McLean kept the master list, matching the donations to each family’s needs.
  This year, Jewel Food Store in Palos Heights donated 20 turkeys to help complete the boxes of food. In addition to wrapped gifts for children, families received holiday meals with either a ham or turkey.