EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Atlantic Christian School students from kindergarten to 12th grade got into the Christmas spirit in December as they participated in a new Giving Tree service project that raised more than $4,500 for charities serving in the U.S. and overseas.
In early December, students in 24 classes chose a charity to support and creatively decorated their own six-foot artificial Christmas trees to match the theme of their charity. The lighted trees were on display in their classrooms or in the hallway outside their classroom. Each tree contained decorations hand-made by the students, such as cloth dog chew toys for the Humane Society tree, firefighter badges for the Scullville Volunteer Fire Company tree and mini wooden bridges for the Rio Missions tree.
Students and teachers contacted family members and friends for several weeks in December asking them to donate to their specific charity. The classes were also competing for prizes for raising the most funds and for the most creative designs aligned with their charity.
"This year, many worthy organizations that serve in our community and abroad have been struggling due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic," said Chief School Administrator Karen Oblen. "This Giving Tree service project was a way for our students and our entire school family to give back to support the work of these beneficial organizations."
The students in Amy Williams' second-grade class raised the most overall and won the Elementary Division, raising $617.50 for their charity, the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. Sara Coates' sixth-grade class won the Middle School/High School Division, raising $422.50 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Two other classes won first place for the best creativity in decorating their tree to reflect their chosen charities. Laura McCarthy's third-grade class won in the Elementary Division, with a tree decorated for the Scullville Volunteer Fire Department. Tori Flath's 11th-grade homeroom class won first place in the Middle School/High School Division, with a tree decorated for the Humane Society of Atlantic County. Each of the winning classes will receive a pizza party or an ice cream party in January.
The charities and nonprofit organizations supported in the Giving Tree service project were Alex's Lemonade Stand, American Red Cross, Atlantic City Rescue Mission, Cape May County Zoo, Camp Haluwasa, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch, Compassion International, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Funny Farm, Hope Pregnancy Center, Humane Society of Atlantic County, If Not for Grace Ministries, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Northfield Dyslexia Center, Rio Missions, the Ronald McDonald House, Samaritan's Purse, Scullville Volunteer Fire Department, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Toys for Tots, Wounded Warriors and 4Ocean.