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Orion Academy’s “Give Back Committee” Delivers Gratitude Baskets to Families

In the spirit of giving and displaying November’s Moral Focus virtue of the month, gratitude, staff members from Orion Academy’s Give Back Committee gathered together to create gratitude baskets to be delivered just in time for Thanksgiving.

During the final two weeks of November, Orion’s dean team created a competition to gather food-based donations, aimed at feeding families from the school community for Thanksgiving. Staff from across the school teamed up, and with additional help from Orion’s board, collected food items, paper products, and laundry baskets to hold all the goods.

Orion donated meals

The committee chose 22 Orion families to receive the Gratitude Baskets, named in recognition of the Moral Focus virtue of the month. “We wanted to show our families our appreciation for choosing us to educate their students,” said Holly Endres, intervention specialist at Orion. “The committee asked staff for family suggestions that we could identify as ‘high need’ and contacted these families to ask if they could use assistance this holiday season.” 

Orion’s staff became involved, donating the majority of items. “We also would like to thank the Orion Academy School Board for their contribution and support with this event,” said Endres. “Without them, we would not have had the support to make this opportunity possible.”

Meals donated to Orion families

With a total of 22 turkeys donated, the school was able to give a basket to one student from every classroom. A holiday meal in a basket, the gift contained everything needed to make a festive Thanksgiving meal, including a personal recipe for sweet potato pie from Principal Smith, and was delivered several days before Thanksgiving. ​​​​​​​

One parent messaged us after the drop off saying that she really appreciated our basket and that it made her day,” said Endres. “Every parent was so surprised and happy when we showed up with enough food for them for the holiday, if not the entire holiday weekend.”

This isn’t the first time Orion’s Gives Back Committee focused on doing good in their community. The committee was formed by several staff members who wanted to start giving back to their student community during these challenging times. “We knew that many of our families were struggling to make ends meet with COVID shutdowns and we realized that the holidays were going to be harder times for some of our families,” Endres shared. “As NHA employees, we have been blessed with our jobs, our pay, and our benefits, regardless of the COVID circumstances of our state. The families we serve may not have been as lucky.”

Orion donated holiday meals

Endres also shared her gratitude to other staff members for supporting Orion’s families during these difficult times. She expressed that serving students goes outside the classroom walls and extends beyond the computer screen. “Orion prides itself on our Moral Focus component and giving back shows gratitude and compassion as part of that Moral Focus,” she said. “We know that we are all in this COVID situation together and we must support one another to get through these trying times. We appreciate our students and our families; this committee is just one way we can show our appreciation.”

The Orion Gives Back Committee is currently looking for additional ways to continue to give back to the school community. The members are looking forward to coming up with monthly or bi-monthly ways to give back and continue to show appreciation for parents.