Even the littlest of hands are helping during the pandemic.
Wilmette Community Nursery School hosted two successful donation drives this school year, teaching children age 2 through 6 how to give back.
“This year, there were a lot of things we couldn’t do that we normally would, and because of the pandemic, we learned that a lot of people were in need of help here so we wanted to stay local,” said Lauren D’Auria, the school’s public relations coordinator.
In turn, the school began a food drive for the New Trier Township Food Pantry last October. Many families decorated their brown-paper donation bags and delivered them to the Wilmette school, D’Auria said.
“As they walked in with their donation bag, there was a bell in the school’s entryway that they got to ring,” she said. “They were just so proud and ecstatic about it.”
The school ultimately donated two full car trunks of goods to the local pantry.
This month, the school wanted to see where else they could help locally, D’Auria said, and discovered the Chicago Night Ministry, an organization helping those struggling with poverty and homelessness.
After the organization gave the school some information on what they needed and guidelines, the youngsters and their families got back to work — and the bell returned in the school’s entry.
After many bell rings, the school donated 796 toiletry items to Chicago Night Ministry.
“We try to encourage the families to explain as much as they could about how they’re giving back to their kids,” D’Auria said. “We want it to become part of their lives as a regular thing for these children. I want them to do it because they understand why they are doing it.”
D’Auria said the school plans to get to one more charity this spring, but nothing has been planned yet.
“Even though it’s a pandemic, these types of events are a big part of our life here,” she said.
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Megan Bernard is a co-founder and the managing editor who directs day-to-day journalism of The Record. Megan enjoys writing about restaurants, entertainment and education and is an established human-interest reporter.