This holiday season, Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP) has been busy with many projects aimed at helping others.

The annual Holiday Gift and Food Drive has been a rousing success with astounding support from advisories, individual community members, and parents. This year, the needs are greater than ever with requests for 187 gifts and holiday food baskets for 20 local families. The generosity of our community will benefit our partners at the Brookview family shelter, Taylor Elementary School, and the South Shore region of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Staff at these organizations and CEPP are extremely grateful for the enthusiastic support of the Upper School Parents’ Association and for all the families who have contributed.

In years past, Community Engagement volunteers have hosted a campus holiday party for the children from the Brookview familty shelter. After a pandemic pause, CEPP is happy to revive this tradition, and this year will bring the party to Brookview, delivering the gifts and providing activities of face painting, cookie decorating, and making cards.

Last week, Class Dean Peter Parisi introduced another opportunity for students to think of those beyond our own campus. During a Class II assembly, which began with CEPP leaders sharing their experiences of working with local elderly residents—students produced 400 holiday cards with cheerful greetings, quotes, poems, and decorations. These cards will be delivered to elderly residents living in two of CEPP’s regular partner sites, Unquity House and Winter Valley, where student volunteers go weekly to help with Bingo and crossword games.

And, in November, CEPP hosted its annual Hunger Awareness Week. The main event was a lunch period during which students and adults drew lottery tickets that assigned them to either a high-, middle- or low-income tier. The number of tickets for each income level was proportional to current incomes worldwide, with the majority representing people who live in poverty. The ticket each participant received indicated whether they would eat a full meal, rice and beans, or just a bowl of rice. The event raised $1,900 through funds saved that day in Forbes Dining Hall plus cash jars for donations in the snack bar and bookstore. Proceeds will go to Partners in Health for their nutrition programs in Haiti—which is home to many who work for Milton’s dining services. Some of the proceeds will also go to the Greater Boston Food Bank, another long time CEPP partner.