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Published: Wednesday, 12/6/2006

Sylvania schools reach out to others during holidays

Several outreach programs are under way in Sylvania schools, where helping others is a long-standing holiday tradition that warms the heart.

For more than 20 years, the Southview High School library has sponsored a "giving" program during the stretch between Thanksgiving and winter break, said Nancy Crandell, spokesman for the Sylvania Schools.

Originally, students and staff collected food for Huntington Farms, now known as the Sylvania Area Family Services, and for a time, they gathered small personal gifts for Luther Home of Mercy residents. As they have done for the last several years, students this year will collect canned goods or nonperishable food items for the Sylvania Senior Center.

"Sylvania residents who use the senior center eagerly look forward to the 'open pantry' that we provide," said Ms. Crandell, noting that this food drive at Southview isn't affiliated with other food drives conducted at this time of year. "This effort is our own tradition," she said. "Many of our community seniors, even though living in what is traditionally thought of as a well-to-do city, are financially strapped by this time of year. Some have maxed out their medical benefits for the calendar year and are forced to decide between prescriptions, the high cost of heating, food, and enjoying the holidays with their families. We are trying to help where we can. We can assist with their food needs."

Last year, the Southview outreach effort brought in 27 boxes of food; all of the food was donated to the senior center. The campaign runs through Dec. 13.

Through another program in the Sylvania district, books are collected to donate to another school in the area. In coordination with a reading project throughout the entire school, called "Stranahan Celebrates the Gift of Reading," Stranahan Elementary School is collecting new or gently used books that will be donated to a partner school in another district in the area. The partner school doesn't have the resources that Stranahan has, school officials said.

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