Oakland Schools, Lighthouse partner to help students in need this holiday season

Oakland Schools and Lighthouse are helping families this holiday season.

Santa's helpers are hard at work, wrapping and laughing baby dolls and board games. But their job is serious: bringing holiday cheer to homeless children in Oakland County.

"All of our districts have students experiencing homelessness and live in poverty," said Sara Orris.

Orris is the Homeless Education Student Consultant in Oakland schools, gathering gifts for kids who are homeless or in foster care, as well as refugee and immigrant students.

In Oakland County alone 2,500 homeless students are without a home. 

"All 28 school districts in Oakland County and all of the charter schools identify and help homeless students," said Orris.

So they're trying to make sure everybody has a nice holiday and they've identified 225 children whose families are in need 

"This particular family has seven kids, everything from a newborn to 7-year-old boys," she said. 

But it's more than families dealing with homelessness. Some are immigrants and refugees who are new to our country, others are children whose parents have been deported.

"Hopefully on Thursday I'll be loading our Oakland Schools van and I'll feel like Santa and deliver all these presents," said Wisam Brikho, immigrant student consultant, Oakland schools. 

The school district says teachers adopted a number of students but they're also partnering with Lighthouse to raise $10,000 to buy for almost 200 kids. So far they're just over halfway to their goal.

It's not all games and toys though. They're packing up gloves, hats, toilet paper, blankets, and other basic necessities.

At Lighthouse's Adopt a Family program, volunteers are getting the last of the items for families in need. Now their attention is turning to students who still need and deserve a merry and bright Christmas.

"The generosity from the community has been amazing," said Marci Fitch with Lighthouse. "We still have some time but again, we need the great community to come together. It's amazing, we've had over 300 volunteers help us here in the last week and a half and I'm always amazed when people come together, what we can accomplish."

Anyone who would like to help out can make a contribution by clicking here