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Interact Club's Inspired First Semester

by John Pennisi

by John Pennisi

Mrs. Winick and I wanted to reach out and update everyone with what our club members accomplished this semester and some items to look forward to next semester.

All in all, our club members completed over 180 hours of community service!

Fauquier FISH:

This is our second year volunteering at this food bank in Warrenton. We help with their Power Pack program that provides weekend and holiday break meals for Fauquier County public school children who qualify for free or reduced lunch. We volunteer there once or twice a month, with anywhere between 8-10 students each time. 

Old School Kitchen:

This is another organization that we’re volunteering at for a second year now. Last year, we partnered with Ovoka Farm in several beef and pork donations to local food banks and food pantries. Some of the meat was donated to Old School Kitchen, which operates out of Haymarket. They make home-cooked meals for local families and people in need, some of which have included meat from Ovoka. We volunteer at OSK once or twice a month, and we help package meals cooked by the chefs there. Hopefully, we’ll get to help prepare some of the food itself next semester!

The Arc of Greater Prince William:

We are in our first year of partnering with the Arc. They operate out of Woodbridge, and they provide programming and activities for young adults and adults with disabilities. In October, we volunteered at their annual Halloween dance. In December, we volunteered at their annual Santa Run/Walk fundraiser. These events meant so much to our club members because last year, we were limited with the types of events we could do because of the pandemic. This year, helping people face-to-face has been such an important facet of our club activities. 

Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Shoebox:

This is another activity that we have done for two years now. Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian organization that hosts Operation Shoebox each year. The goal is to pack shoeboxes with gifts and toys for children around the globe who would typically not receive any presents during the holidays. Last year, we packed 26 boxes; this year, we packed 41! Our packages went to children in Madagascar, Honduras, and Burundi last year. We will find out in January where this year's packages ended up.

Wakefield Thanksgiving Food Drive:

Each year, our club partners with our sponsoring a Rotary Club of Gainesville-Haymarket in helping feed families in need on Thanksgiving. At Wakefield, this annual food drive is an all-school event that we co-sponsor with Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society. We gathered enough food to feed nine local families on Thanksgiving this year. Rotary supplies the turkeys, and Wakefield families supply everything else! Thank you to everyone who helped make this event another smashing success.

Salvation Army bell-ringing:

Another annual event that we participate in with the help of our sponsoring Rotary Club is spending one Saturday in December at the Walmart in Haymarket bell-ringing for the Salvation Army. We had 12 students volunteer for 10 hours on a cold Saturday this year! They had lots of fun singing, dancing, and raising money for a worthy cause.

In addition to continuing with the partnerships mentioned above, we hope to host an event for the Arc community sometime in the spring. We will also be organizing a dodgeball/3-on-3 basketball tournament sometime in the spring, as well, to raise money for both Fauquier FISH and Old School Kitchen.

In closing, as Mrs. Winick and I say, this is a student-run club. Without our 42 dedicated members, none of this would be possible. Thank you to our Executive Board members - Boston, Callie, Ben, Kate, Lucky, Cameron, and Tyler - for their leadership and drive. Thank you so much to our club members for being so generous with their time and efforts. Thank you to our parents for instilling in your children the desire to give back and make a positive change in the world.

Happy holidays,

Mr. Pennisi and Mrs. Winick