TAMPA – For the men and women serving in the U.S. military, the holiday season can be a lonely time of year, spent far away from family, often in miserable conditions.
The students at Berkeley Preparatory School are trying to help make the holidays a little bit brighter for soldiers overseas. They have started a “Holiday Mail For Heroes” campaign to support the troops overseas, writing personalized letters to the troops. They don’t expect responses, but they know that the troops appreciate the kind words.
Along with the letters, sent to both active troops overseas as well as retired veterans, they are holding a “Wrap-In,” wrapping gifts for the needy.
Berkeley Prep teaches a lot to its students about giving back to the community and often works with the more multicultural Dickenson Elementary School, located across from the Berkeley campus.
“We do a lot to give back to the community in Tampa Bay,” said senior Karaghen Hudson, whose dad served six tours of duty in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. “The Holiday Heroes drive and the Wrap-In are just some of the things we do. We do a lot with local Meals on Wheels organizations and the great thing is that the whole school takes part. The middle school kids run a canned food drive, the Lower Division helps us with our projects. As students at the Upper Division, it is up to us to teach the younger kids about how important it is to help the community.”
Sophomore Kimberly Dil said that the kids learn early from the upperclassmen. Every student gets an unwrapped present for a child, she said.
“We take care of people in need and it’s fun to do at the holidays.”
The Redlands Christian Migrants Association is a big beneficiary of the Berkeley efforts.
“We also ran a swing set drive for the Berkeley summer camp,” added junior Rachel Weinbren. “There always something going on around here.”We try to help everybody, but there’s still a lot of work to do.’’