Program puts holidays in perspective for Hutchinson high schoolers

A group of high school students from Hutchinson, Minnesota, visited a homeless shelter in Minneapolis this week to learn about some of the needs of people their community.  

The students brought approximately 120 toys for kids to People Serving People, a homeless shelter in Minneapolis. But, the thing about these particular students is that many can relate to hardship.

Valencia Tilbury once lived at this shelter with her family and coming back was tough.

“We never really had an official place to stay,” Valencia said. “Money was tight; we'd always end up having to move.”

This group of kids is part of a program at Hutchinson High School called REACH, for kids having a tough time -- in danger of not graduating -- or just needing a shoulder to lean on.

The program has helped Chloe Morawitz, a teenage mother, a lot.

"It's hard to balance life, baby and school all at once,” Chloe said.

Chloe used the money she made selling a piece of furniture to buy the toys she brought to the shelter.

“I figured people who don't have anything, I don't have everything, but to them what I have is so much,” Chloe said.

Chad Harlander, the director of REACH, said the program is an opportunity to put things in perspective for the high school students. And that’s why he wanted to help People Serving People.

“A lot of our kids come from tough homes [and] were all struggling and they found a way to make this happen and it meant so much to them,” Harlander said.

Harlander says going through something tough teaches you to help others who are having a hard time as well.

"It's about being selfless -- the greatest gift is what? Helping others,” he said.

The People Serving People shelter always has a running list of things to donate on its website. More information can be found here.