TOWNSEND -- North Middlesex Regional High School students are lending a helping hand this holiday season by providing food baskets and toys for families in need.

For the ninth year, the service learning program at North Middlesex is organizing their annual Giving Tree project.

Donations of used clothing and other items, which will be traded in for cash through recycling organization Bag2School, are being accepted Nov. 9 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the high school front circle driveway.

The school is asking specifically for clothes, belts, purses, blankets, sheets, curtains, shoes tied together and stuffed animals.

Last year, the money raised helped to fund about 1,800 gift baskets which served local families in need through shelters and other organizations.

The baskets included both necessities, such as winter coats, and wants including DVDs, video games and books.

Money can also be donated to local fuel assistance programs or to Heifer International, which provides farm animals to those in developing countries.

North Middlesex service learning advisor Ray Kane said that the project is entirely student run.

"Students run the the entire program from fundraising, because it usually takes about $4,000 to meet all needs that are not met by generous community members, to contacting agencies and working to process all gift requests and every detail involved in the process," Kane said.


"I think for the students who are involved, we have over 140 each year, they truly commit themselves to something larger than who they are as individuals, they feel passionate about working to help their community and their tenacity restores one's faith in humanity."

Kane strongly encouraged area residents to donate whatever they can this weekend.

"I believe this event truly brings out the best in the North Middlesex community. Everyone is extremely generous and is always willing to do that little extra. Seeing the gifts that come in, it truly is humbling to witness everyone's true spirit," Kane said.

"I think people help the way that they do because it is is the true sign of a strong community when a group of people us able to come together and accomplish great things for people they may never meet or ever get a chance to see the result of their generosity. Isn't that the truest example of generosity? Serving meaningfully when you know you may never see the results, but doing it regardless," he said.

Follow Chelsea Feinstein on Twitter and Tout @CEFeinstein.