Kingsland NHS members serve community

By : 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Spring Valley Tribune

The 19 members of Kingsland’s National Honor Society are preparing for their largest service project of the year — an annual clothing drive and distribution on Saturday, March 23.

“One of the tenets of the National Honor Society (NHS) is service,” stated Kingsland NHS advisor Stacey Hogberg, sharing about the mission of the merit-based organization as it anticipates the largest group project it has done for the community annually for more than a decade.

“The members volunteer in school and serve as members of many different organizations, however, our clothing drive gives them an opportunity to serve their community as well,” said Hogberg. “There are members of the Spring Valley, Wykoff and surrounding communities that look forward to and are in need of the clothes from the drive.  There aren’t a lot of opportunities for citizens to obtain clothes without any cost for them.  There is a clothing drive in the fall that a church holds, but this one is given this time of year.  I don’t know another locally during this time, so it is one where citizens are aware of and can have access to clothes that don’t put a hole in their wallets.”

The event is made possible through the generosity of people who clean their closets and drop the clothes off at the Spring Valley Community Center or at participating local churches. Dozens of bags of donated clothes are collected from local churches. What doesn’t get taken the day of the distribution is picked up by a local organization that distributes items to its clients in need. Although said she can’t put an exact number on it, the drive gets at least 15 tables’ worth of items every year.            

Once everything has been brought to the community center, it’s the students’ turn to sort and set the clothes and shoes out, illustrating to them that service does take work, but that it’s worth it. 

“The clothing drive makes the NHS members aware of the needs in the community.  I think it opens their eyes to the financial issues facing many people in Fillmore County, and hopefully, it encourages them to volunteer as adults in like-minded organizations who help serve the needs of its citizens,” said Hogberg. “Clothing is an added expense that most young people don’t think about. They are aware of eventual bills like utilities, cell phone, internet, cable, housing costs and student loans, but money for clothing is often overlooked.  Many people struggle with having money left over after paying bills, so trying to come up with money to buy clothes for their growing kid who wears a size medium one day and a large the next is difficult.  Hopefully, this clothing drive can take that burden off of people.”

And the difference made by the students putting their hands to work to fill holes in wallets by sorting and stacking clothing donations has shown itself in the “thank you” that Hogberg hears as shoppers are filling bags and heading out the door with a change of clothes. 

“Many people are so grateful and have come up to me or members and have personally thanked them.  A lot of people leave with a bag and a smile.  The smile says it all,” she said. “I’ve heard many stories where someone has just lost a job, or an unexpected financial crisis came up — like medical bills — and by getting free clothes, it reduced that burden.” 

The 2019 NHS clothing drive is slated for Saturday, March 23, at the Spring Valley Community Center, 200 South Broadway Avenue, from 8 a.m. to noon. However, NHS students’ service doesn’t end with a single community event. 

“We do service projects as part of National Honor Society.  If students want to letter in NHS, they have to put in volunteer hours, usually about 30.  They have to read to elementary students or listen to them read, they have volunteered to be judges for the middle school spelling bee and have helped with the book fair at school.  Also, many members volunteer to be Sunday school teachers at church, help tutor students and help at town events,” Hogberg noted.