An annual holiday tradition at Juarez-Lincoln High School has given several families in La Joya gifts of toys, food and clothing.
This year’s Needy Drive, organized by Juarez-Lincoln High School in the La Joya Independent School District, provided presents and warmth for 41 families in the city of La Joya.
Xochil Garcia, who works at the high school and coordinated the event, supervised and helped about 30 student council members load hundreds of wrapped gifts in school buses this Monday morning. The students were able to deliver the presents to the families personally, learning about the compassion and need to give back to the less fortunate in the community.
Several families are nominated by parent educators at the elementary level, social workers at the middle schools and faculty at Juarez-Lincoln High School.
“We select families who we have observed are in need,” Garcia said. “It’s a great help, especially during the holidays.”
The gifts were donated and gathered by several entities within the district, including the central office staff, the La Joya community, clubs and organizations at Juarez-Lincoln and other campuses in LJISD. The gifts included toys for the children, blankets, canned food and clothing.
“It’s amazing, the response that we’ve had this year,” Garcia said. “Most of the families receive blankets and heaters, which is going to help bring warmth to their homes.”
The hundreds of canned food items were donated by Jimmy Carter Early College High School, who held a drive specifically for this purpose. Garcia hopes that as the years go by, the event continues to flourish.
“It’s important, because we need to get more community members involved,” Garcia said. “Our area is really in need, and they do need the support out in our area.”
Garcia also highlighted a more recent initiative put on in Juarez-Lincoln called “Adopt an Angel,” which started about three years ago. The teachers and staff at the school bring in a $5 to $10 gift to specific students on campus.
“We want to target our students who have mental health issues, such as depression or suicidal ideation,” Garcia said. “It’s so they know that someone cares in school for them, and they need to come back after the break.”