---- — LAWRENCE — Over the last three weeks, Central Catholic High School students have raised $11,750 in their annual Christmas Project.
Each of the 51 homerooms adopted a family identified as “seriously in need of essentials” by Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities and the staff at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lawrence.
Each homeroom class received a detailed list of the family’s needs and was asked to raise the money needed to purchase the items. Students raised the money through school-wide raffles held during lunch at school, bake sales, students’ donations, and even from a gingerbread house contest. Faculty at the Lawrence school donated gift baskets and other prizes for the raffle items.
“Our goal is to spread the joy of Christmas to families that are struggling financially for the bare necessities,” said Emilie Zahn, a senior from Lawrence.
In addition to Zahn, the Christmas Project was led by seniors, Mary Shine of Lawrence, Kaeleigh Molloy of Methuen, Liam Sullivan of Chester, N.H and juniors, Tyler Andrade of Lawrence and Dylan Parsons of Methuen. Faculty members, Diana Meyer, Vicki Blaszak and Earline Tweedie assisted in the project’s coordination with Catholic Charities and St. Mary’s Church staff.
Beyond raising the $11,750, over 100 students shopped at local stores for such essentials as coats, gloves, shoes, sneakers, towels, bed linens, gift certificates for food, diapers, infant clothing and children’s toys. Students packaged the items into large boxes and labeled the boxes for each of the 51 families.
Central Catholic students delivered the boxes to Catholic Charities and St. Mary Church on Tuesday, December 18 for distribution to the families on Christmas Eve.
The Christmas Project was organized by students starting in 2001 and has become an annual community service project for the students. Over the 10 year history of the project, students from the school have raised more than $130,000 for their adopted families in the Greater Lawrence area.