The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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Unique Ways of Fundraising for WISH

As WISH fundraising begins to start up, some unique ways of fundraising are emerging at LHS.
Franklin Borre
The flamingos seen across the lawn are part of the band’s interesting way of fundraising for WISH.

As October has now passed, and November is coming into full swing, the minds of the students within Libertyville High School are quickly transitioning into Christmas-time ideas as the school’s annual WISH project approaches.  WISH, which stands for Wildcats’ Initiative for Sharing at the Holidays, is the school’s way of helping underprivileged families around the Lake County area.  

Each third-hour class adopts a family (1-2 people are in a small family; 3-4 for a medium; 5-6 for a large; and 6 or more for an extra large), and then begin brainstorming ideas for fundraising.  Mrs. Jennifer Uliks, who, as Student Activities Director, is in charge of the WISH project and training the WISH leaders, said that Libertyville High School has committed to helping 12 small, 49 medium, 17 large, and 2 extra large families.

The families come from all over Lake County.  “I was talking to Catholic Charities this morning and they said that they need donors for 16,000 people in Lake County, which is crazy,” Mrs. Uliks said.  

She explained that Catholic Charities acts as a “broker” for more than 70 agencies in Lake County, such as Lake County Cares or PADS.  She said that the people within the programs can sign up for a gifting program, and from there, they are listed on a computer and full names are kept anonymous.  All that is known is the first names.

Later, on Nov. 18, the third-hour classes will receive lists from the families they selected.  These lists include things that their families are asking for.  From there, it’s fundraise, fundraise, fundraise.

Typically, what this means is that LHS will see an incredible increase in bake sales.  The most common way of fundraising for WISH has typically been by selling baked goods through bake sales, or by selling hot drinks, such as coffee or hot chocolate, while students walk through the door in the morning.  When buying these goods, whether it be baked goods or hot beverages, every dollar is going towards a good cause. While some people enjoy the endless bake sales, others can only take so many cookies, brownies, and puppy chow before they need something new.

Each year, it becomes harder and harder to find unique ways to fundraise that will actually get people to purchase the product or service and keep them coming back. Another common way of fundraising along with bake sales is putting jars in local businesses for donations. Both ideas Mrs. Uliks says she often sees.

She joked that “what used to be really popular was [a] pie in the face for teachers.  That hasn’t been [as popular anymore] because I think what classes are starting to find out is that whipped cream is very expensive and so I think they’re finding out that they’re not always making the money they’re hoping to.”  

However, this year seems to be different.  The number of bake sales is significantly down, and third-hour classes are finding other ways to fundraise.

“It used to be bake sales, bake sales, bake sales, and by this time, usually, each slot would have been totally taken, and I don’t even have 50 percent filled right now,” Mrs. Uliks stated.  She added that she talked to the WISH leaders about thinking outside the box and finding different ways to fundraise.  

One component that could have added to the decrease in bake sales was an increase in support from local businesses.  She stated that there have been an increase in local businesses looking to get involved by either matching money raised or giving a straight donation.

Mr. Dennis Duffy, a government teacher at LHS, has been putting his own unique touch on interesting ways to fundraise for WISH.  For the past eight years, Mr. Duffy has been selling his own beef jerky that he makes, a craft he has been perfecting for a decade now; he takes presales for this during WISH.

“[I have known how to make beef jerky] for 10 years.  Mr. Leone taught me how to make jerky when I was a student teacher here,” Mr. Duffy explained.

The process of actually making the jerky is very long and time-consuming.  Mr. Duffy explained that he typically uses whole muscle meat, such as round steak or venison.  Next, after cutting the meat into thin strips, he lays the meat out on a tray and applies the mix of spices — he prefers cracked pepper and garlic — and preservative salt, which is a special kind of salt that helps break down the muscle tissue at a chemical level, which helps with the tenderizing process.  

After the meat is tenderized, the main component that smokes the meat is wood chips.  He explained that he typically uses apple wood, courtesy of an old apple tree from his house that was dug up.  Mr. Duffy then explained the process from there.

“You soak the wood chips for a couple hours in water so that they last longer when you put them on the coals.  [Next] you set up your smoker, you start your coals, dump them in, you throw your [wood chips] on, and then you put your meat on the trays and smoke it for a couple of hours, then you have jerky,” Mr. Duffy explained.  

When asked about what other interesting fundraising methods there are, Mrs. Uliks said that some of her favorites are Dr. Deb Kellum, the applied arts supervisor, who is giving an opportunity for kids to win a parking spot for the month of January, along with front-row tickets for the family for graduation at the Sears Centre. Additionally, Mr. David Ness, who runs the new guitar class at LHS, will have his students put on a concert on Nov. 19 to raise funds.

One other notable fundraiser is coming from the band program, which has been going around to different houses in Libertyville and placing pink lawn flamingos on the yards of different families.  Along with the flamingos comes a note, stating that they have been selected from another family and the flamingos will be removed the next day, but if they want to donate to the band’s WISH family, the flamingos will be sent to another house that they choose.

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Unique Ways of Fundraising for WISH