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the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

Give instead of get

One Falcon’s story shows how giving back can be the best gift you get this holiday season
Kelly McLemore
Senior Alex McLemore serves during the holiday for Feeding America

Quickly approaching us is the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas. With the holiday season on the way, some people are preparing by changing their closets from fall to winter, putting up their trees, drinking hot chocolate, and making a wish list. Though many are excited for the season full of festivities or the big morning when they hope to get everything they wished for, it is also the time of year when it is important to remember to give back to your community so that the less fortunate can celebrate the holidays with their families too.

At Saint Stephen’s, giving back is an important part of our culture.  There are many ways to do so, and perhaps taking a look at one Falcon who excels will give us all a little inspiration

We asked someone known for his service to others, senior Alex McLemore, to understand what the service means to him

Mclemore recently crushed the school record with a whopping 2,118 volunteer hours, and said Christmas is his favorite time to serve.

“I started volunteering at the food bank the Christmas before COVID 19 my eighth grade year.” 

Mclemore added, “Every year since then it has become a family tradition to go behind the old Desoto Mall and help the less fortunate. 

McLemore described the food bank as a mobile food dispensary line behind the Desoto Mall where everyone is designated to a certain food to pack up and serve. McLemore and his family stand in the building and pack different food items into boxes and roll it down the conveyor belt, where a family in need is waiting on the other side.

This food bank is run by Feeding Tampa Bay and serves the community once a month, but runs at its peak during the holiday season.  Feeding Tampa Bay is a foundation that has established over 400 food banks in the Tampa Bay area and have partnered with main food companies such as Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Winn Dixie.

McLemore mentioned that the food bank asks people to volunteer during all of the holidays with the major ones being Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“I love to volunteer here during the holidays because it’s a good way for people to remind themselves what they should be thankful for.” 

“My favorite part is when I’m done packing the food and the families in need are on the other side of the conveyor belt. You can see their gratitude when you put the food in their car, it’s nice to see that you really made someone’s day,” McLemore said.  

In reality, we all like to open presents on Christmas morning, but rather than sitting back and waiting to get everything on your list, maybe you will consider donating an extra dollar or your time to Feeding Tampa Bay or the Salvation Army. With the holidays approaching maybe you will feel encouraged, just like Alex, to make helping your community a holiday tradition for your family.  

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About the Contributor
Savannah Hrubar, Staff Writer
Savannah Hrubar is a first year senior on The Gauntlet and took on the position of a staff writer. Her favorite color is pink, she has a really cute cat, and she plays volleyball in her free time. Her favorite show is Friends but she doesn't have a lot of time to watch TV.

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