Student story: Carolers collect cans for a caring cause

While some Belleville West students spent their holiday season watching TV or sleeping the days away, others were doing what they love most.

Over winter break, five Belleville West students continued their annual tradition of caroling through the streets of Millstadt for the third year in a row.

The group consisted of juniors Chloe Frisby, Emma Brand, Hannah Higgins, Lucy Eckert and Rachel Hunter.

“We started doing this around three years ago. We were all in choir together and all love to sing. We saw caroling as a way to do what we love and brighten up the community at the same time,” Brand said

The five girls gathered on the nights of Dec. 20 and 21 to spread the holiday spirit. The group went door-to-door in neighborhoods around Millstadt, including Alpine Meadows and Kings Creek.

The group sang multiple carols including “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

“We were out caroling for at least two hours each night, so we were able to sing lots of carols. We just walked door-to-door around a few neighborhoods in Millstadt,” Hunter said.

Caroling was not the only thing on the agenda for these girls. Along with singing carols throughout the neighborhoods of Millstadt, the group also handed out flyers explaining a simple but effective community outreach program. The girls asked homeowners for donations of non-perishable food items. The group saw this as a simple and effective way to give back to the community.

“We wanted to go caroling, but to go caroling for no reason seemed kind of weird. We decided to turn the caroling into a way to collect canned goods for the Millstadt Food Pantry. While we were singing we’d give the person a flyer that said what we were doing and asked for donations,” Frisby said.

The next day the group would go around to the front porch of houses to pick up canned goods left the night before.

Some of the homeowners offered cash donations that the five gladly accepted. At the end of the two days the girls went to the Dollar General in Millstadt and purchased more than $70 in non-perishable food to donate to the food pantry.

“I took interest in this because it is a really fun tradition that my friends and I have started, and it’s for a great cause which makes it even better,” Eckert said.

Over the last few years, the girls have raised more than $150 and large numbers of canned goods through their caroling in the neighborhoods of Millstadt.

“It was nice because the five of us are really close friends. We all love to sing and this allowed us to reach out and help people less fortunate than us,” Hunter said.

The decision to go caroling not only filled the community with joy, but also sparked an interest in helping the community through a canned food drive. This group of girls hopes to continue to carol for years to come as a way to give back to the community in more ways than one.

“Caroling isn’t something people do very much any more, so it gave us the perfect opportunity to do something we love,” Hunter said