Editor's Note: The following news brief was contributed by .
This holiday season found students and staff throughout the district reaching out to our community and beyond.
The guidance department at Ben Franklin Elementary School coordinated collecting Thanksgiving food baskets for eight families in the Ben Franklin community. Each basket contained a full meal and general household items, including milk, eggs, bread, turkey or ham and all the fix-ins.
Ben Franklin staff members anonymously purchased gifts for 10 BFS families. They provided gifts for every child in each family, regardless of whether they attend Ben Franklin or if they are a sibling of a BFS student.
Staff members had the opportunity to "dress down" one day in December for a $5 donation. All proceeds went directly to the purchase of ten $50 Wal-Mart gift cards to accompany all donated gifts.
Ben Franklin Elementary School established a "mitten tree" in the school's lobby. The tree acted as a collection area for hats, scarves and mittens for those less fortunate. One kindergarten student actually learned how to knit specifically to make a scarf to donate for this project! All donations were sent directly to HomeFront, Capital Health hospital, and Women’s Space.
Ben Franklin Elementary School also held a winter coat drive in coordination with the first grade winter concert. Donations were collected in a large box in the lobby and four giant bags of gently used and new coats were donated to New Jersey Cares and were picked up on Friday, Dec. 16.