Senate Santas

Student Senate members help those in need during the holiday season

Connor Weber, Reporter

Student Senate president Devin Merz reflects on a cold December day when a car full of Senate members pulled up to a small run down house near downtown Grand Haven. They piled out of the car and cautiously made their way up a flight of dilapidated stairs to a door where they were met by a mother who graciously invited them in. A preschool girl who had been asleep inside, lit up with a nervous excitement as she wrapped her arms around her crying mother’s leg. A young boy rushed from the back bedroom to meet their Santas in disguise.

Merz can still picture the scene as Senate members began to fill the house with Christmas presents, new clothes, and groceries as part of their annual adopt-a-family project. When it was time to go, each of them were met with a hug from the family and a teary eyed thank you from the mother.

“This is one of those secret things that Senate does that we don’t like to flaunt about,” Merz said. “Because it’s a way of us giving back to our community and making an impact that not only affects the lives of the other people, but kind of opens our eyes to see that in our own community we have people that are in big need and that we can help them.”

Student Senate has been putting on this holiday project for more than 20 years. They typically choose four to eight families in need from a list provided by elementary principals.

Mary A. White Principal Valerie Livingston has seen many grateful, tearful adopt-a-family recipients over the past years.

“(They stated) how special it was for them because they may not have been able to offer their kids much of a Christmas without that help,” Livingston said.

Senate advisors contact each family to get a sense of what they could use for the holiday season, from food items to toys. Each Senate class grade shops for one or two of these families and delivers the presents to them a day before Christmas break.

Senate is currently getting ready for this years round of adopt-a-family, and plans to deliver on Dec. 19.

However Senate’s holiday spirit doesn’t end here.

Similar to years past, a small committee will take a holiday-themed visit to local nursing homes. Members will deliver Christmas cards and gift cards, play games, and chat with the seniors for the afternoon.

Student Senate member junior Mikaela Kroll witnessed many people crying during last year’s visit.

“We delivered them all their cards, and when they opened the door they would  greet us and we just talked to them,”  Kroll said. “It was really fun because we got to see how it affected them. They were super happy that they could get this money, and they were really grateful.”