The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Giving Weeks!

A special time where the SEM Community comes together to help the Buffalo Community during the Holidays

SEM students surrounded by all the cans donated by the students and faculty.

Tessa Pszonak , Contributor

To kick off the holiday season, SEM celebrated its annual Giving Weeks which began on Giving Tuesday, November 29 and ended Friday, December 9, 2016. This is a special time during the hectic holiday season when the SEM community focuses on a number of non- profit organizations to gather donations on behalf of.

Generally, SEM is out there to help the Buffalo community throughout the whole year but these weeks are especially important, said Community Service Board’s faculty advisor Mrs. Hopkins. During Giving Weeks, students collected items from tights to canned goods for those in need.  During Giving Weeks, SEM is involved with both new organizations to our school community and some we have already partnered with.

“There is a lot of underground work that goes into the service and we wouldn’t be able to do what we can without the enthusiasm of both students and faculty. It takes many phone calls and emails to make it work, but in true SEM fashion, we always pull through and make it work,” said Community Board Chair Olivia Miller ’17.

There were five charitable organizations students gathered donations for: tights for St. Monica’s elementary school, clothes for St. Luke’s mission mall, winter gear for Lafayette High School, requests from the Family Help Center for the Giving Tree, and canned goods for Buffalo City Mission’s Mission Possible challenge.

The Giving Tree is a long-standing tradition at SEM. Students and faculty pick gift for children who otherwise wouldn’t have a present. “As soon as the Giving Tree filled with little pieces of paper was placed in the Gallery, by third period the tree was empty. All that was left were its branches.  I always take two, one for me and one for my sister because we love shopping for the gifts together. We get so excited imagining the surprise on the kid’s faces as they see the gift under the tree that we literally tear up every time we talk about it. We just love giving,” said Ms. Drozd.

In addition to helping out the community a competition between each grade level was started by the Community Service Board. The results of the can competition were: Seniors: 296, Juniors: 107, Sophomores: 74, Freshmen: 203 and Faculty: 60. SEM exceeded its goal of 500 cans collecting 740.

Buffalo City Mission’s Mission Possible campaign challenged schools and colleges in Erie and Niagara Counties. The goal is to collect 72,000 canned goods in two challenge sessions for the whole year. Their goal is to end hunger in the Greater Buffalo Region. Buffalo Seminary is fortunate to participate in this event.

Throughout the week canned goods for Mission Possible have been piling up in the Chapel. The grade that collects the most canned goods for the organization wins an ice cream social for the class. “I love seeing the cans pile up in the chapel each morning because it really shows the SEM community coming together through this great event,” Maggie McCulloch ’20 said.

The Giving Weeks came to an end on Friday, December 16 with the last City Mission pick-up of canned goods.

Some of SEM’s partner organizations are Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, ENERGY Tutors, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, Charter School of Inquiry (CSI), Mission Possible and Meals on Wheels. SEM students are always immersed in the greater good of Buffalo. “I spent July as a counselor for St. Luke’s Kids of the Kingdom. It was great to spend time with kids that aren’t as fortunate as me. I left feeling that I made an impact on these campers but most importantly they made an even bigger impact on me,” said Alicia Land ’19.

The SEM Community Service Board’s goal is to engage students so they effect the area around them – the Buffalo community. Students don’t just live here, they participate. SEM students are doing just that. While Giving Weeks have ended, we can’t forget Mrs. Hopkins’s famous words, “Let’s get out there and make a difference!”