The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views


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Giving back to your community: A guide

The holiday season is about spreading cheer, being thankful, celebrating our values and starting the new year off well. The holidays aren’t just about getting, but the giving which truly makes a difference. Giving to underprivileged children and families around the holidays makes an immense impact in their lives and is a rewarding way to give back to your community. “It’s very important to give back during the holidays because we live in a very privileged community with a lot of resources and it’s important to provide some of our resources and give our time to people who don’t have as much as we do. Even though volunteering for an hour for some Christmas organization might not mean a lot to you, it can really benefit them and make their holiday season special,” said junior class officer Blake Mehrabi. Many kids or families don’t have the means to buy presents for their children, so giving back to your community and those in need can forever change how a child views the holidays. Volunteering is also an amazing way to spend time with friends and family while making a difference. If you’re looking for opportunities to volunteer this holiday season, there are many local charities and organizations near the Lake Oswego/Portland area that can help you participate in the gift of giving back.

USPS Operation Santa- USPS Operation Santa is an organization through USPS that helps underprivileged children’s dreams come true. To participate, kids will write letters to “santa” which end up being put on the website ( for people to “adopt.” When you find a letter from a child that resonates with you, you can buy the gifts on their wishlist and then ship them to the children on behalf of the North Pole. The mailroom starts accepting letters on Sept. 18 and registration for adopters opens on Nov. 6. Adoption of letters starts Nov. 20, and gifts should be shipped out by Dec. 18. 

Toys for Tots Kids make wishes for toys, and you can fulfill them by donating a toy or donating online. “Anyone can be a santa.” You can also donate to the company and sponsor them. One individual, either a Marine, member of a Marine Corps League Detachment, or member of a local community organization, is designated the Toys for Tots Coordinator for that community.  The Coordinator is responsible to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation for planning, organizing and conducting the campaign in his/her community. Local toy collection campaigns begin in October and last until mid to late December.  Toy distribution also takes place mid to late December.  Members of the community drop new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes positioned in local businesses. Coordinators pick up these toys and store them in central warehouses where the toys are sorted by age and gender. On Christmas, coordinators, with the assistance of local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community agencies, distribute the toys to the less fortunate children of the community.  

Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse – Packs shoe boxes of gifts and necessities for children in need – you can volunteer through churches or groups to encourage involvement, volunteer at a drop off location to welcome people and volunteers will fill cartons and load trucks with the millions of shoeboxes we prayerfully anticipate receiving. Approximately 80,000 people will serve in these roles during the third week in November, or volunteer at the processing center to inspect the gifts and packages before they ship to the children. 

Operation Christmas Spirit – Operation Christmas Spirit is another option to ship gifts to children in need. This operation focuses specifically on military’s families, single service members and works to build morale during the holiday season. The steps to making a child’s dream come true through Operation Christmas Spirit are simple: Collect the toys on a child’s list, host a gift card drive, “adopt” a military family, and they’ll do the gift shipping for you. If you want to help out a child in need but aren’t able to shop for their presents, you can also donate online at 

Toy and Joy Makers – Portland Toy & Joy Makers is a local toy drive founded by the Portland Fire & Rescue in 1914, helping out local families in need around Christmas time. Their organization is completely run by volunteers to promote the spirit of helping children and their families during the holiday season. Toy & Joy Makers relies on donations and cash for supplemental toy purchases. Donations can be made through PayPal. Volunteers are also needed to help with toy distribution during the holiday season and storage throughout the remainder of the year. Get more information at

Family Promise of Tualatin Valley

Helps put underprivileged and houseless families in rooms for temporary assistance and shelter. Family Promise provides food and childcare so that families can work and get back on their feet. The holidays are a perfect time to help serve dinners to families and do fun activities with the kids. 


Whether you are able to give three hours of your time or just have time for some quick gift shopping, there are countless ways to get involved with your community and help those in need. Life can get busy and school can get stressful but the holidays are always a reminder of what is truly important in our lives and the lives around us. Community, charity and care. This said, if you have a free evening, a free hour, or some money to spare, put it towards something bigger than yourself. You’ll come to realize a little time and effort goes a long way. 


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