A small act of kindness can make the biggest difference in life.
This was the lesson learned by the senior members of Lehighton Area High School's National Honor Society, who recently completed a clothing drive for needy families in the area. By working together, the school was able to gather enough garments to clothe many local people.
"People really are good at heart. Everyone knows a person that could use a helping hand," said Madeline Zern, the president of Lehighton's National Honor Society. "We want to help the community."
"It's rewarding to see the effects of our actions," added Molly Harleman, NHS vice president, sorting through clothing with her fellow honor society officers. The group agreed that most people have clothing at home that they won't wear anymore, but many of these garments are still in good condition. Why not gather these items to share with the less fortunate of the community, they asked.
For two weeks, members of the National Honor Society visited classrooms to ask for clothing donations. Students, faculty and staff responded generously. The group ultimately collected nearly 30 large bags of clothing.
Clothing items will be given to Bethany Evangelical Church in Lehighton to distribute to the community at no charge.
The second annual clothing drive is one of the many activities and fundraisers that NHS members sponsor each year. The group also runs an annual food drive for Trinity Pantry during November and December, gathering food for hungry families during the holidays. They also collect animal food and pet supplies in the spring.
When the group sees a need in the community, such as last year's Pazzazz kennel fire, they jump into action. Students in NHS also work together with various clubs in the school, including Student Council and Project Humanity, to complete larger projects and fundraisers.
"I feel like National Honor Society is not just a club that anyone can join. You are selected by adults who think you have the initiative to excel," said Zern. "The people who are in National Honor Society really want to help people."
Junior members of the National Honor Society will be inducted into the group next week. Both junior and senior members will then join forces for their food drive and other upcoming events.
"We need people who are going to go out of their way to give back to the community," said Amanda Windbeck, NHS secretary. She noted that Lehighton is a close-knit community, and people living in area tend to know one another. Nearly every student knows someone who has been affected by the recession or a job loss.
"It's a give and take," added historian Erica Wenrich, also involved in the drive. She added that while many students live comfortable lives, others aren't so fortunate. "You don't know what situation you will be in tomorrow. Do good things, and good things will follow you."