7th Annual Bay Gives Back Gift Drive Kicks Off December

Boxes of gifts collected for the Gift Drive

Boxes of gifts collected for the Gift Drive

Carly Pence, Reporter

December in Whitefish Bay has kicked off with the start of the 7th annual gift drive led by the high school’s Bay Gives Back program. 

The gift drive is an opportunity for high schoolers to enrich their own holiday experience and the holiday experience of others by sponsoring a child.  

 The process of the gift drive begins with the children at Windlake Academy generating a holiday wish list. The contents of these wish lists range from toys to games to barbies. Next, the WFB high schoolers receive the wish list of the child they are sponsoring and shop based on the child’s interests. The gifts are then received at the high school by volunteers who sort them and ensure every child gets a gift. This process creates a personalized experience for the kids.

On delivery day, participating high school students go to the Academy for a holiday celebration with the students and teachers. The children then open their gifts with the group. Watching the kids unwrap their presents is very fulfilling for the high school students and exciting for the younger kids who are getting gifts they might not have otherwise received.  

Anna Gibson, a teacher at WFB High School who led the gift drive for several years, describes the gift exchange as an event where “it’s so much fun to celebrate the holidays with them [the kids] and see their eyes light up when they open up their gift.” 

The gift drive concept originated back in 2014, when a Whitefish Bay High School student, Sarah Spector, volunteered at Windlake Academy, an elementary school on the South Side of Milwaukee during the summer.  She wanted to do something for the students at the Academy, and she thought of the gift drive idea and brought it to the Whitefish Bay High School Club, Bay Gives Back. 

The gift drive fits perfectly with the core mission of Bay Gives Back: to encourage students to get out of the Whitefish Bay bubble and help the greater Milwaukee community. 

The gift drive partnership between Windlake Academy and Whitefish Bay High School is beneficial to the students and teachers at both institutions and hopefully will continue for years to come.