This year, the Community Engagement Program has been dedicated to lots of projects involving students, staff and faculty, aimed at helping others. After Hurricane Matthew devastated areas of Haiti in early October, the program raised more than $2,000 for hurricane relief efforts. The donation was divided among four Haiti-based organizations focused on health and education. Milton has a history of contributing to Haitian relief efforts; many staff members have close connections with the country, with family and friends living there.
In November, the Community Engagement Program hosted the annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet, in which 750 people participated in the dining halls during lunch. At the banquet, students, faculty and staff members drew lottery tickets that assigned them to either a high-, middle- or low-income tier. The number of tickets for each income level is based on the latest statistics about the number of people living in poverty. The ticket that each student or adult received indicated whether they would eat a regular meal, rice and beans, or just a bowl of rice. In addition, more than 100 students pledged to eat only rice from 10:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. during that week. Including a contribution from bookstore sales, the School’s donation to Oxfam totaled $2,750 and will be specifically designated to support refugees and projects in Haiti.
For the holiday season, the Community Engagement Program managed a gift drive to fulfill the wishes of 55 children from the Department of Children and Families, from Brookview House (a local family shelter), as well as some requests for homeless families at the Taylor Elementary School. Many student advisory groups purchased gifts or collected money for food baskets. On Tuesday, these food baskets were assembled by Milton’s volunteers, loaded on vans, and shipped to homes in the surrounding areas. The School is also supporting the Milton Residents Fund—which helps families in-need, living in the Town of Milton—by purchasing gifts for the holidays.