Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School in Phoenix enjoyed the true spirit of Christmas as they came together to make Oswego County Opportunities (OCO)’s Blizzard Bag program a school project that would involve all students in every grade.
The Blizzard Bag program provides OCO clients with an emergency supply of food in the event that they are unable to receive their regular home-delivered meal due to inclement weather conditions.
The students worked together and did everything from decorating the bags to collecting food and preparing the bags for delivery.
Guidance counselor and member of the school’s Character Education Committee Nora Germain said the students were excited to be a part of this year’s Blizzard Bag program from start to finish.
“Last year our kindergarten students decorated the bags. Our teachers and students enjoyed it so much that we decided to make it a schoolwide project this year. Kindergarten teacher Lucille Mercer spearheaded the project and we were underway,” said Germain.
Third-grade teacher, Mary Delphant explained each grade had a specific assignment.
Fourth-graders made cheerful notes for each bag; kindergarten and third-grade students organized a food drive and sorted donations; second-graders decorated the bags, and first-graders decorated and colleted food for pet bags.
“It was a good experience for our students,” said Delphant. “They learned the importance of generosity, caring for others, and giving back to their community.”
Mary Stanton, Maroun principal, echoed those sentiments.
“Service learning is an important part of a child’s education,” she said. “It’s wonderful that the whole school was involved in this project. It was a powerful experience that touched all their lives.”
The students prepared 150 Blizzard Bags and 25 Pet Bags.
OCO Volunteer Coordinator Christine Parks said the efforts of the Maroun students marked the first time that an entire school was involved with the program.
“Over the years we have been fortunate to receive support from a number of Oswego County students, however this was remarkable. We greatly appreciate everything the students did and the encouragement they received from their teachers and parents,” said Parks.
For more information on donating items or volunteering to assist with OCO’s “Blizzard Bag” program you may contact Christine Parks at 598-4712 ext. 1807 or visit oco.org.
A private, nonprofit agency, OCO touches the lives of more than 30,000 people each year through more than 50 programs operating in more than 80 locations throughout Oswego County. The agency employs more than 650 people and has more than 1,200 volunteers. For more information, visit OCO’s website at oco.org.