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The first GREMSgiving

Six charities to benefit from student collection

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Students from Houghton High School’s Student Council and Interact Club — Robin Kisiel, Carson Jackson, Cecilia Butler, Callie Knuuttila and Emilyn Fay — show boxes of GREMSgiving donations to board members. The groups are collecting donations for six charities through Dec. 1.

HOUGHTON — Houghton High School students are taking donations for a variety of good causes during the holiday season.

Members of the Student Council and Interact Club gave a presentation to the board Monday night on the inaugural GREMSgiving program.

High school students are collecting goods for six drives or charities: Toys for Tots, the TV6 Canathon, Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home, Angel Mission, 31 Backpacks and Operation Copper Country Active Duty.

“In the past, we’ve just done really Toys for Tots and then just really Canathon, and one overshines the other and we decided to combine them all to hopefully give more to all of them,” said council President Robin Kisiel.

The district was already the second-largest donor to Toys for Tots, bringing in around $2,000 a year in toys and donations, Kisiel said.

The Interact Club, which has usually handled Canathon at the school, is already seeing more donations for it due to the combined effort, said Emilyn Fay, Interact Club president and a member of the student council.

“It’s a really great way to help build our community because it goes directly back into the people in our community that need it,” she said.

The students began collecting for the other four local charities this year for GREMSgiving. Operation Copper Country Active Duty, run by the American Legion Auxiliary, creates Upper Peninsula-themed care packages for military members who aren’t able to make it home for the holidays.

“We’re just providing any U.P.-themed coffee, T-shirts, anything we can purchase and giving back to them so they can make the service members’ Christmas a little more enjoyable,” said Cecilia Butler, co-vice president of the student council.

After another source stepped in to fund the original cause for the council’s semester fundraiser, it decided to redirect efforts to GREMSgiving. The council board and a few other members went to Walmart to buy goods for Angel Mission, 31 Backpacks and the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home.

“After about an hour, we had three carts full of stuff,” said Callie Knuuttila, the council’s secretary-treasurer. “We brought these items back to the school. And we were hoping that it would catch on to get other people to bring in stuff and it did. So we have a lot more stuff.”

Collections began Nov. 9, and will continue until Dec. 1. The school’s goal with GREMSgiving is to give as much as possible to the community, said Carson Jackson, co-vice president of the council.

“In this last week in November, we’re really pushing to get as many donations as we possibly can from everybody — students, parents, anybody in the community,” he said.

People interested in contributing can contact Interact Advisor Traci Welch at twelch@hpts.us or Student Council Advisor Anna Bradfish at abradfish@hpts.us.

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