A helping hand


photo by Ariana Tchao

Key Club members Michelle Henry and Chelsea Elizabeth volunteer at the Dec. 4 Kiwanis Club Stocking Stuffing event. Around 20 members attended but with other members of the community over 100 stockings were filled.

There is nothing like starting the holiday season with a smile on your face hanging out with friends while helping families in need. On Dec. 4, Key Club joined the Kiwanis Club, an adult volunteer group who work to improve the lives of children, and other groups in the community — such as boy scouts, girl scouts and veterans — to fill holiday stockings for people this holiday season. The event took place in the Oviedo Mall, who also provided chairs and tables for them to use. 

Approximately 20 Key Club members attended the volunteer event, and lasted from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. More than 100 stockings were filled with snacks, toiletry necessities, toys and cards wishing happy holidays, ready for local police departments to pick up and distribute to local families. 

“I just love the idea of the different generations coming together [to help the community],” Kiwanis Club correspondent Kathy McDonald said. “I think anytime that the community as a whole can look and see young people doing good, it gives hope for the future of their community.” 

Although it was a volunteer event to get community service hours, to Key Club historian Arianna Tchao, it did not feel like a chore. Instead, it was an event that brought people together to spread the holiday spirit. 

“I [liked] being able to talk with friends while still being able to better the community, and there was just an overall positive vibe,” she said. “It gets more people in the holiday spirit, knowing that we are helping others, and the stockings reflect that Christmas is not always about giving to people you know.”

The stocking stuffing event has now been bringing people of all ages together since 1989. Starting in McDonald’s house in Oviedo with only four senior girls who wanted to do something for the community, it has become an event with over 50 people of all ages. Members of Key Club attend to help others but to also lead as an example to younger students. 

“I think that the younger girl scouts and even the younger boy scouts that were here today, seeing so many high school students out here willing to give up Sunday afternoon and have a good time laughing and smiling is a wonderful example for the young people,” McDonald said. “You know, why not have fun doing good [and helping others].”

With a goal of helping young kids gain leadership skills and helping the community, Key Club members will continue to do volunteer events around the community. The next meeting was canceled but a new date will be released on their instagram and hours will be collected in the near future. 

“Strangers that are just walking around are able to see these high schoolers able to volunteer their time even though they are in high school,” Tchao said. “This club is able to demonstrate that there are kids that are aware of other problems, besides school, and they are trying to help.”