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Holidays inspire giving spirit in students

Assisting the Trewyn Middle School isn’t a new agenda for the Lewis J. Burger for Leadership and Public Service, and the partnership has continued to make a difference for children in need.

In an upcoming project, “A Hand Up for the Holidays,” a service team of over 100 volunteers is collecting donations for new school uniforms, school supplies and clothing for more than 125 children this December.

Trewyn school is currently located in the poorest district in Peoria and often struggles to meet the needs of students beyond the classroom.

Ben Wright, assistant director of the LJB Center and head of the project described the need for support as overwhelmingly high.

“Imagine wearing the outfit you’re in every single school day,” Wright said. “It’s going to be tattered and worn, crumpled and unclean. A lot of these kids only have one uniform. Some wear them from year to year, too.”

While winter clothing drives are always helpful during this time of year, Wright said the need resides in unexpected and every day items like socks, underwear and food items.

“There’s actually an overflow of hats and gloves from previous donations, so now we’re trying to focus on providing those basic needs they’re not getting at home,” Wright said.

The center held a book drive for the school earlier this year called “Fall in Love with Reading.” Students were asked to donate not to the schools, but directly to the students.

“At the library there, students can’t take books home,” Wright said. “The school is worried they won’t bring them back. We wanted them to have access to these resources at home too.”

According to Wright, the Lewis J. Burger service will continue to foster its relationship with Trewyn schools, working to provide resources underprivileged children. To get involved with the upcoming service projects, email Wright at


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