Holiday Drives Foster Lives of Purpose and Service

Every year around the holidays, MICDS students and families participate in donation drives to help those in need. Although the pandemic adjusted the typical format for conducting these drives, this year was no different in giving to those facing difficult times. The MICDS community banded together to contribute to the Helping Hands Toy Drive and Derek D. Martin Food Drive. Nothing can stop our Rams from living into our Mission of leading lives of purpose and service!

Helping Hands

Helping Hands is an annual MICDS school-wide holiday toy drive that benefits FamilyForward, an organization that delivers comprehensive therapeutic and educational services to support biological, foster, and adoptive families in the St. Louis community. The families often must choose between buying food, paying bills, and giving holiday gifts to their children. Through Helping Hands, MICDS families donate new toys, games, and books for children ages newborn through young adult. FamilyForward transforms their offices into a “toy store wonderland” where a parent, foster parent, or social worker can “shop for an angel.” Many MICDS donors also participated in their Teen Angel program, which pivoted to a gift card program that enables teens to purchase their own clothing.

This year, the program went virtual, and families shopped the organization’s online holiday wish lists. FamilyForward Events Manager Tina Nelson reported, “We had a great response from MICDS and were able to fulfill the wishes of every child we serve. While this year looked like no other, we are grateful for MICDS’ continued support.”

The Captain Derek D. Martin Food Drive

This year marked the 7th annual Derek. D Martin Food Drive, where Upper Schoolers typically donate cereal, mac ‘n’ cheese, and canned goods to the St. Louis Fire Department Rescue Squad. Captain Martin, the father of MICDS alumni Jordan Martin ’06 and Kayla Martin ’17, was a firefighter stationed in Engine House #1 for the St. Louis Fire Department. He and his fellow firefighters ran a food collection every year before the winter holidays to feed families facing food insecurity around their engine house. After Capt. Martin died in the line of duty in 2002, his friends and coworkers renamed the food drive in his honor and grew the drive from feeding 50 families to over 700 families. His daughter Kayla introduced the food drive to MICDS when she was in 9th grade, and it has remained a tradition since.

The 2020 collection was conducted virtually due to COVID-19. Instead, the firefighters collected monetary donations totaling approximately $8,000, which was used to purchase food for the families. “Our hearts are unbelievably full, and we are so thankful that we were able to raise enough money to afford the food, the trucks for deliveries, the bags, shirts, and lunches for the volunteers over a two-day period,” said Kayla.

Watch the video below to glimpse the amount of generous donations collected!