L-R: Alex Mercier, Cynthia Wright, Abby Karp, Emily O'Donnell, Dani Armstrong, Lilah DuBoff, Christian McMillan, Frank and June McCleneghen
The Waldorf High School has only 47 students, but they just donated more than $600 and more than 150 food items to the Race Track Chaplaincy of America to help benefit backstretch workers in Saratoga Springs. The team leading the fundraiser had hoped to be able to help three children of backstretch workers by raising $225. The extra funds will let the students help a fourth child, as well as provide the Race Track Chaplaincy of America with gift cards to help other families now and throughout the year.
Lead by a group of six students, the group reached out to parents, community members and younger students, as well as their classmates, to get the entire school community involved.
"The size of our school lets everyone take a big part in something -- giving back," said Christian McMillan, Class of 2015. Other students on the leadership team were Alex Mercier, Class of 2017; Abby Karp, Class of 2016; Emily O'Donnell, Class of 2016; Dani Armstrong, Class of 2018; and Lilah DuBoff, Class of 2018. The annual fundraiser was the most successful in all the time the students have been supporting the backstretch workers.
The student leaders were very aware of their privilege, especially this time of year.
McMillan said, "We're all getting together with our families and having so much food at this time of year, and there are families out there struggling to get food on the table. The team wanted to make this the greatest year ever and really support these families as best we could."
The donations were made to the Race Track Chaplaincy of America - New York Chapter.
Race Track Chaplaincy Field Director June McCleneghen said, "Race Track Chaplaincy is not just in Saratoga during racing or training season, but is involved year 'round with backstretch workers and their families who stay in the Saratoga area."
The school's leadership team hopes this drive inspires the Waldorf community to continue to support the backstretch workers throughout the year.
"We want people to continue to donate," McMillan said. "Now that they have more information about these people and the important role they play in our community and our economy, we hope our community continues the giving-back process."
McCleneghen was amazed by the response from the school.
"School staff, students and families are a true blessing to our ministry," she said.
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