Patriots adopt families in need

“We always bring stuff in, and I always try to make stuff homemade. This year we have a little girl in the family who likes ‘Frozen,’ so I’m going to try to make her a ‘Frozen’ blanket,” senior Olivia Barnhart said about the “little tradition” her advisory has this time each year of adopting a family.

Barnhart “really gets into it” and sees it as a great way to inspire and give back to those in the community who aren’t as fortunate as we are. Rather than viewing this time of year for shopping, decorating, and tree-chopping, science teacher, Julie Baker’s advisory utilizes it as a way to make someone else’s holiday special.

This year we have a little girl in the family who likes ‘Frozen,’ so I’m going to try to make her a ‘Frozen’ blanket

— senior Olivia Barnhart

This year, the Spanish Club will also be adopting a family. Both families come from the Mason-Dixon Community, Inc, a non-profit organization that provides emergency food and assistance to low-income residents of Harford and York counties. Instead of creating a wishlist of things students personally want, they will be collecting various things these families need, but are too out of reach for them to get.

Spanish Club moderator Susan Garcia is extremely excited to help and get involved, as it is her first time participating in the adoption. She wanted to encourage students in Spanish Club to help in a life-changing opportunity. “When we give back to people who are less fortunate, we’re helping someone else and blessing someone else’s Christmas. It goes so far,” Garcia said.

The family they are adopting consists of a husband, wife, and a 7-year-old-boy. Garcia and her son plan on delivering the items to the family on Dec. 17. They are aiming to donate heavier clothing, food, and toys for the boy.

Spanish Club President senior Giana Liberatore is excited for the incredible experience. “We’re really trying to get everybody to bring stuff in because the more we give, it will make their Christmas that much better,” she said.

Baker’s advisory is adopting a family that consists of a mother, father, a 6-year-old girl, and an 8-year-old boy, but this isn’t her first time. According to Baker, she has adopted a family every single year she’s had an advisory. Baker strongly encourages others to adopt a family because it not only makes a difference but also unites others and gives hope. Barnhart couldn’t agree more, “It’s really nice because we’re bringing the family closer together. Meanwhile, our advisory is coming closer together as we help.”

Baker emphasizes not only how excited her advisory is to contribute, but also how more advisories should be. “When I first started working here, all the advisories adopted a family and now not many do it at all,” Baker said. Because of this, Baker opened up the adoption and donations with her neighboring advisory, in hopes of reviving the tradition.

When we give back to people who are less fortunate, we’re helping someone else and blessing someone else’s Christmas. It goes so far

— Spanish teacher Susan Garcia

Junior Caitlyn Trent, from the neighboring advisory, and her mom purchased a $40 Shoprite gift card to donate to the family. “When Dr. Baker opened it up to us, I wanted to help. Service is so important to me. I also try to remember: this could be you,” Trent said.

Trent also spreads this idea through other service opportunities like Merry Ministries, which is another program JC offers to students to help the less fortunate by collecting necessities. “I always try to encourage people to donate, especially since we go to school here. We should be able to try and put together some donations or at least a bottle of shampoo,” Trent said.

According to Baker, they have already collected some clothes, LEGOs for the boy, and crafty items for the girl. “On Monday, we’re having a wrapping party where we wrap all the toys [we] got for the kids, and we write ‘To’ and their name and ‘From Santa,’ because they don’t know it’s us, and they really enjoy it,” Baker said.

Overall, these service projects helped those involved get into the spirit of Christmas. “I really hope everyone takes away the strong value of helping others. It really is what getting into the Christmas spirit is all about,” Garcia said.

Pia Scotto is a Community Editor for The Patriot and