LASD offers several ways to help students/families during holidays

November 7, 2023

LASD offers several ways to help students/families during holidays

LUDINGTON — Ludington Area Schools has a long tradition of helping the school community during the holidays. Every year, the LASD counselors and staff coordinate to identify and offer assistance to students and families who would benefit from holiday help with gifts, food, or both.  The goal of the collaboration is to reach as many families as possible and avoiding duplication.  For those unfamiliar with the way this happens, here are a few programs that highlight how donations are spent and how others can help if interested:

The LASD Oriole Giving Tree Program is in its fifth year of implementation. The goal of this program unifies all the holiday giving programs among the district and expands outreach within each school. Instead of each building having separate programs, the Ludington Family Link collaborates with all LASD building counselors to create a district holiday program that is systemic and sustainable for students and families.

This year, the goal is to raise enough funds to sponsor LASD families for holiday shopping at Meijer for $200 per family. The number of families is contingent on the amount of donations to the program.

The current allocation is to distribute shopping to five children from Pere Marquette Early Childhood Center, 30 from Ludington Elementary School, 25 from O.J. DeJonge Middle School and 25 from Ludington High School.

The Giving Tree also sponsors five students/families serviced by Staircase Youth Services as well.

The Shop With an Oriole program comes from LHS Student Council and has been an initiative of its outreach to elementary students for over 20 years.  What began as a program to purchase winter gear and a small toy for 18 elementary students has morphed to a mentoring experience for the high school and elementary students. Now, each high school Oriole on the council takes an elementary student, nominated by LES counselors with parent permission, out for an afternoon of lunch/play at McDonald’s where they also create a holiday craft together and then shopping for the student to select gifts for themselves and their family with a budget of $200 per child.

The Council representatives wrap their Little Os’ gifts and also assemble a basket of non-perishable, kid-friendly food. Last year, LHS students donated nearly 2,500 food items during the LHS Community Food Drive. The gifts and food basket are given to the elementary student and his/her family for the holidays. The program is funded by initiatives of the Student Council throughout the year and community donations, when offered.

The LHS Holiday Help Fund is collected primarily from staff and area private donors who provide funds to assist LHS students and families throughout the year, but mainly at holiday time. Because some needs are non-traditional or not able to be covered by The Giving Tree program, these donations provide the flexibility to offer things like gift cards for dinner or movie passes, help with minor car or utility needs, or something as simple as purchasing a senior sweatshirt or yearbook for a student who otherwise might not get one. This fund is created through donations that Mark Boon manages and is run through the LASD Student Resource Center.

The Shop With a Cop/ Shop With a Hero program is a Mason County-wide initiative serving elementary age students and is not funded or affiliated directly with LASD, however it is coordinated by the LASD School Resource Officer at the high school.

The program is funded by an annual Thanksgiving Pie Auction, also coordinated by the LHS School Resource Officer.  Ludington Police Officer Conor Gallihugh’s is in his first year as school resource officer at Ludington High School. His predecessor, Sgt. Austin Morris, is assisting in the leadership transition. The Shop with a Cop/Shop with a Hero program pairs elementary students with a police officer or  local emergency responder from the fire department, EMS, or other agencies to go shopping at either Walmart or Meijer with $200 to $250 worth of gift cards. The child is given a bagged dinner and the child’s family is given a full holiday meal delivered to the home before Christmas.

This year, the family will also be given a one-time voucher to shop at the Lakeshore Food Club for groceries with no-questions-asked or registration required. As with the Shop With an Oriole program,  Ludington Elementary students are nominated for this program by the LES school counselors and coordinated with all other LASD programs to avoid duplication.

Anyone who may have a student or family to be considered for any of the above programs should click on this link:

Link to Nominate an LASD Student/Family for Holiday Help

Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks