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Christmas Comes Early for 27 Families, Thanks to Teens

Posted December 22, 2007

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— Having a child in the hospital is not how families want to spend Christmas. But for 27 families in that exact situation, three high school girls made their holiday a little brighter Saturday.

Caitlin Hunnicutt, Meredith Tart and Katie Stover – all juniors at West Johnston High School – volunteer each month at the Ronald McDonald House of Durham. It’s a place of shelter for families whose children are being treated in local hospitals.

The girls usually cook meals as part of their service, but they decided to take it a step further and hold a toy drive. Last week, the girls spent 12 hours at a local Food Lion and collected about 300 toys.

“People kept coming out,” Meredith said.

On Friday, the girls wrapped each of the presents and brought them to the children and their families on Saturday.

“There you go, sweetie,” Caitlin said as she handed a child a present. “They can’t go home. They’re spending their Christmas here or in the hospital, and that’s not any kind of way any kid wants to spend their Christmas.”

“It takes a lot of strength to go through what these families are going through,” Meredith said.

Opening presents was a welcome distraction for Chad and Taylor Jacobs. Their baby brother, Nalin, has been at Duke Hospital since he was born on Aug. 28 with fluid in his lungs.

“[The girls] have made [my children's] Christmas so much better,” Bernard Jacobs said. “I mean, they have really gone the extra mile for the kids.”

The girls are also collecting tabs from soda and soup cans. Each tab nets 4 cents for the Ronald McDonald House. The girls’ goal is to collect 2,000 tabs by the end of the school year.

“It makes it great, knowing that we’re giving back to the community and helping that many more people have a Merry Christmas,” Meredith said.


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  • Made In USA Dec 23, 2007

    Thanks lonewolf for the address. I will place a can or jar in our breakroom at work and when I fill it up, I will mail it to them.

  • lonewolf27592 Dec 23, 2007

    This is a SkillsUSA project, an extracurricular activity sponsored by West Johnston High School and mentored by Mr. Todd Thibault, a teacher at the school. Any donations of tabs can be made to
    Skills USA, c/o West Johnston High School, 5935 Raleigh Rd, Benson NC 27504

  • NCMOMof3 Dec 23, 2007

    It's so nice to read about teenagers doing something nice and non violent for a change. I know they are out there as I see them everyday but the news typically reports only the bad and we see these types of stories around the holidays. Way to go, girls, and I'm glad they volunteer every month. What an example to kids everywhere and adults, too

  • Made In USA Dec 23, 2007

    I'm sure we can, but it will likely be after Christmas. This site has turned into a ghost town today. My guess is that many people are away from their computers doing Christmas stuff. I will be shortly. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • DeM Dec 23, 2007

    I probably have 500 or more already. I was saving them for my son's school when they discontinued the program (they do a multitude of other community activities). Let's get an address!

  • Made In USA Dec 23, 2007

    The girls want to have saved 2000 tabs by the end of May next year. I vision them having 20,000 if companies place a jar in their breakroom for them. WE NEED AN ADDRESS TO SEND THEM???

  • Made In USA Dec 23, 2007

    Way to go twc! If I have the time and patience, I could go through an estimated 500 cans at work, but probably won't because they are crushed. That'd make it hard to get the tabs.

    WHERE can we send our tabs to to help out these girls????????

  • parr4246 Dec 23, 2007

    What a wonderful story! You girls have hearts of gold.....!!!

  • RyeBread Dec 23, 2007

    Somebody's raising their kids right!

  • enigma1469 Dec 23, 2007

    This just lets them spend more money on booze.