Chatfield SADD members organize holiday collection for Rochester women’s shelter

Members of Chatfield High School's SADD chapter held a toiletries collection for the Rochester women's shelter over the last week before Christmas vacation. From left are Mollie Henry, Abi Hinckley, Maddie Collett, Sabina Boettcher, Isabelle Berg and Katie Ihrke. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
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All I want for Christmas is a toothbrush, a Kleenex and some diapers.

“The students decided to collect for the women’s shelter because they felt it was a cause that may not get as much attention this time of year,” stated Kiya Virgin, advisor of the Chatfield High School Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter. “There is a definite need in that organization at this time, and the students wanted to help meet it. SADD decided to collect toiletries because they are something the shelter truly needs.”

SADD membership, comprised of 60 members in grades nine through 12, has typically held a collection during the month of December, and this year is no different, even though they didn’t collect toys like they have the past few years.

Co-advisor Elizabeth Fugelstad pointed out, “SADD has always done a charitable drive in December. In the past, they’ve collected toys or other goods. This is the first time we’ve collected for the (Rochester) women’s shelter.”

The drive is for all students and staff to participate in, and it is important for students to participate in a drive like this to be able to give back to others, Fugelstad added. “It helps remind them that the holiday season is meant for giving, not receiving,” she said.

Virgin agreed and said, “The collection helps remind students that they have the power to help out someone else and should use it to improve the community. The collection fits into SADD’s mission of developing students’ leadership abilities. This drive is completely student planned, organized and run.”

Virgin said the chapter collected items from Monday, Dec. 17 through Friday, Dec. 21, including toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, paper towels and more. They also collected diapers and wipes for the children at the shelter — since some children come to the women’s shelter with their mothers, diapers will be a useful donation.

“We hope that the drive will provide much needed resources to the women’s shelter, as well as raise awareness about the types of donations the shelter needs year-round,” Virgin said.

The chapter has other plans for projects throughout the school year, Fuglestad related. “In the new year, we will be implementing some anti-vaping posters and activities, address mental health issues in youth, and the students have always enjoyed ‘random acts of kindness’ in February. In May, we will be hosting a mock crash in cooperation with local first responders.”

Virgin commended the students for their generosity in organizing the collection for the shelter. “SADD students planned and organized this drive on their own,” she reiterated. “They are excited about serving their community in this way. SADD students are committed to making positive choices and inspiring their peers to do the same. They are hard-working and dedicated to improving their school and community.”