Our hope is that the holidays can always be a joyful time for our students. But for those facing economic challenges, this can be an incredibly stressful time. Currently, 79% of our students receive free or reduced meals (breakfast and lunch) at school. This means that providing enough food over the two-week break from school can be a daunting task for many of our families.  Purchasing gifts for their children is often simply out of the question. That’s where Serendipity’s donors come to the rescue.

For the past four years, HSBC Bank has sponsored Serendipity’s classrooms during the holidays. HSBC volunteers, Dena Hinson and Kathy Medoza, worked in conjunction with our teachers who ask their students what toys, games, books, and activities they would like to have in the classroom. They then worked to make our students’ wishes a reality by organizing HSBC’s employee Giving Tree and delivering the gifts to each classroom before winter break. This year Dena and Kathy went above and beyond, taking time from their schedules to also address each classroom, telling the students how much the people at their company believe in the importance and potential of every Serendipity student, and explaining that the gifts are given in support of everyone working hard and achieving their goals. That was just the beginning of the outpouring from our community. Cash donations from individual donors allowed us to purchase 23 gift cards to Fred Meyer, assisting families with groceries and gifts. The members of Central East Portland Rotary again demonstrated their caring by providing bags filled with groceries, helping to feed ten families. Employees of the Waterstone Building in Lake Oswego also collected food and books to add to the effort.

Because of this generosity, holidays that could have been an experience of exclusion and doing without became one of nurturing and celebration. The Serendipity team is most grateful to all who contributed to a joyful holiday for our students!