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North Marion School District community bands together to support communities it serves

COURTESY PHOTO: NORTH MARION MIDDLE SCHOOL - Students at North Marion Middle School decorate the Giving Tree in the school's main hall.Local schools combine their resources nearly every holiday season to support the needy, and North Marion School District is no different.

This year, North Marion High School's FFA held a canned food drive and the Associated Student Body, with help from Key Club, sponsored two blood drives for the Red Cross as well as sponsoring a Pennies for Presents campaign during homeroom.

North Marion Middle School held a bazaar, in which students used "Pawsitive Behavior Bucks" to shop for gifts, which had been donated by employees and parents, for their family members.

Employees joined in the fundraising efforts: The North Marion classified employees union donated $400 to purchase fresh produce to go in food baskets as part of the district's Backpack Buddies program, which is in partnership with local churches. The North Marion food service department's employees also chipped in together and raised $200 to help families. Teachers and counselors sought and received OEA Foundation Grants to buy winter clothes for students.COURTESY PHOTO: NORTH MARION MIDDLE SCHOOL - North Marion Middle School staff members pose with gifts donated through the Giving Tree to Love Santa.

Efforts were heightened by support from the community: French Prairie Lions Club donated hats and sweaters, while Maps Credit Union and First Student helped provide presents for the district-wide Giving Tree program. Even the local UPS driver donated teddy bears.

The district's Giving Trees were likely the largest combined effort, collecting donations for Love Santa, Inc.

"This is all about doing the best you can to help people during the holiday season," Superintendent Ginger Redlinger said. "Everyone seems to be doing something for somebody — I'm not only talking about Christmas, but just in doing things for other people. I don't know that people realize what the district does to support the community."

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