For the past 12 years, Hilton Central School District has joined forces with the village of Hilton, town of Parma and local organizations to participate in Make a Difference Day on the last Saturday in October.
This year, nearly 200 students, staff, teachers, community members and their families came together to make the community a better place by rolling up their sleeves and pitching in on various projects throughout the area.
Everyone started their day at Hilton High School, where Wegmans Latta Road donated bagels, doughnut holes, bananas and beverages to fuel the volunteers. Teams then headed out to their sites.
Area residents lined up at the high school to drop off documents for secure shredding by Certified Document Destruction and Recycling Inc. Cars then could pull up to the Maven Technologies LLC truck, where teams of students unloaded electronics for recycling. The event collected 20 pallets equaling 13,796 pounds of electronics.
The American Red Cross held a blood drive inside the high school that collected 14 pints, enough to save up to 42 lives. Quest Elementary School students created 60 paper flowers for cancer patients who cannot have real flowers.
The Hilton Chapter of Model U.N. and Hilton Cares collected two bags of children’s coats, three bags of women’s coats, nearly two bags of men’s coats, and seven bags of hats, mittens and scarves for the local clothing closet and students in need.
“We were lucky to receive a bag of beautiful and, more importantly, warm hand-knitted items for young children,” Model UN adviser Martha Burke said. “The National Honor Society also donated five bags of hand-knitted hats and scarves crafted by a member’s parent.”
Hilton High School Student Council brought 19 students to Hilton East Assisted Living to create Halloween wreaths, painted “monster rocks” and “Give Thanks” door hangers.
“We had a blast!” adviser Michael Brook-Gay said.
Students and their parents headed over to Parma Library to sanitize toys and books. The library also held a new sock drive.
Make a Difference Day included outdoor projects. Families went to two homes in Hilton to rake leaves for elderly residents. Merton Williams Middle School students mulched the trails behind Quest.
“The kids were very proud of themselves and we would be happy to do this project again next year,” said Collen Grego, social studies teacher.
At Tops Plaza, the Hilton Lions Club and student volunteers Stuffed a Bus with donated food that went to the Hilton-Parma Emergency Food Shelf at the Hilton Community Center for sorting. In all, 40 large boxes and about 1,200 pounds of food were collected to fill the shelves.
Hilton-Parma Recreation’s annual Halloween Celebration took place at the Community Center, which was attended by about 500 people. About 60 people participated in the parade. Families enjoyed horseback rides, face painting, gym games and hayrides, along with pizza, hot dogs, pretzels, apple cider, doughnuts and pumpkins that were donated for the free event.
After all the projects were complete, volunteers headed back to the high school for a pizza lunch provided by Wegmans.
“Make a Difference Day in our community is all about bringing people together to help create a better tomorrow,” said Tom Venniro, director of Hilton-Parma Recreation and Make a Difference Day Committee chairperson. “The 2019 event accomplished this more than ever. Although our many volunteers may not realize it at the time, their efforts and these projects help make significant environmental, social, health and wellness impacts on so many levels. It is truly a magical experience that exemplifies the best of our community.”