In a year when physical distance needed to be maintained, Belmont Hill students still found a way to give back to their communities. While traditional mainstays of the Belmont Hill service regimen such as Party with a Purpose, the Turkey Drive, and the March Service Trip were not feasible, students initiated a plethora of projects to fill the pandemic void. Thanks to the hard work of community service heads and students, the school community helped out many people and institutions in the Boston area.
During October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, Daniel Moran ’23 launched the Think Pink Fundraiser, which raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s research to find a cure for breast cancer. Sales from Think Pink-themed bucket hats and additional donations yielded an impressive $1,722 for oncology research.
In the place of the annual Turkey Drive, the third form held a gift card drive that provided underprivileged families with the means to celebrate Thanksgiving. The pandemic did not faze Belmont Hill families, who donated enough gift cards to feed 656 families, outperforming the 576 meals put together during the 2019 Turkey Drive! Most importantly however, with the help of partner organizations, more than six hundred families were able to enjoy a hearty holiday meal.
Over the holiday season, Jalen Walker ’21 and Daniel Drucker ’23 organized a gift drive through DOVE, a Quincy domestic violence shelter, that runs an “adopt a family” program through which families in need can receive gifts from donors. Participating Belmont Hill advisories pitched in $100+ to buy gifts and donate them to DOVE families. In total, 35 different people received gifts from 7 different families thanks to the generosity of our advisories.
Cradles to Crayons benefited from a student-run clothing drive held in January. In total, the school filled fifteen bags’ worth of clothing and winter supplies. These articles went a long way to help families in need.
February found Jack Barry ’21 and student body president Timmy McCormack ’21 organizing a welcome basket drive for Pine Street Inn clients. The Inn is the largest service provider for homeless people in Boston, and Belmont Hill has been participating in service projects with them for a few years. The baskets provide basic necessities for the Inn’s increased clientele, as the pandemic had triggered an increase in homelessness. Thanks to student donations, they were able to put together 12 baskets for new residents.
Belmont Hill’s service week was marked by a variety of projects, with different advisories writing letters to active service members, making blankets, creating birthday boxes, donating food, and more. Advisories’ donations contributed 75 letters, 61 snack bags, 26 books, 12 birthday boxes, and 12 blankets.
Last, Belmont Hill Giving Week took place the week of April 20th. Thanks to the efforts of many Belmont Hill students, a food drive, book drive, clothing drive, and a sports gear drive all took place at the same time. The many contributions benefitted a food pantry run by the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Boston, the More Than Words bookstore, and the South Boston Boys & Girls Club.
Aside from these projects, smaller student-led initiatives included miscellaneous food drives, mentorship at the Mission Grammar School, and our ongoing lunch bag drive. Belmont Hill students displayed tremendous spirit and generosity through various service initiatives. Despite the pandemic sidelining a few important events, the sheer number of projects started this year was inspiring and a telltale sign of this community’s generosity of spirit. Many of these projects will likely continue next year under easier circumstances, and the community looks forward to the chance to expand our community service outreach.